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West Mercia Governance Board

Notes of Meeting

Wednesday 23rd August 2023, 14:00 – 17:00

Willison Room, Hindlip


John Campion (JC) Chair, Police & Crime Commissioner

Gareth Boulton (GB), Chief Executive Officer

Tony Morriss (TM), Deputy Chief Executive Officer

Paul Benfield (PB), Treasurer

Pippa Mills (PM), Chief Constable

Richard Muirhead (RM), Director of Commercial Services

Richard Cooper (RC), Assistant Chief Constable, Crime & Vulnerability

Rachel Hartland-Lane (RHL), Director of Business Services

Grant Wills (GW), Chief Superintendent, Operations

Alison Rixom, Secretary

Diane Cleaver, PCC Finance Manager, Observer


Rachel Jones (RJ), Assistant Chief Constable, Local Policing

Alex Murray (AM), Deputy Chief Constable

Marc Bayliss (MB), Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner


Ref 01/23/08/2023

Introduction / Attendance / Apologies.
Introductions were made and apologies noted.

Ref 02/23/08/2023

Minutes and Action Log for the meeting held on 26th July 2023.
The minutes were recorded as an accurate record, but with amendments to 2 items.

Page 2 – Item 04/26/07/2023 Agile Working Policy. The DPCC asked a question, but the response was not recorded correctly. It was agreed that the amendment would be inserted at the start of the response.

It was not just the individual but also the Line Manager’s check list to ensure a check and balance is built into the process, this was included within the attached papers.

Page 3 – Amendment to Item 11/26/07/2023 Quarterly A&A Update -Paper. Amendment requested by the CC. The CC had made an observation regarding the volume of the virtual A&A and PCC assured that the accumulative would be included in papers going forward.

The action log was updated.

Ref 03/23/08/2023

Provision of CED Training, staffing and devices within WMP – Papers – For Decision.

The CED Training, Staffing and Devices within WMP papers were presented by Chief Supt. Grant Wills, discussed, and noted.

The papers outlined 3 independent areas for a solution to WMP around Taser use.

  1. Increase in the number of front-line officers authorised to carry a device.
  2. Bring Taser Training in house due to changes in regulations.
  3. Increase in the number of devices.
  • The PCC asked about the position in the paper around the increase of 20%. Was there a rationale around that number? It was stated that the National average is 19.5% and WMP needs to be at least the same
  • In terms of the operational increase, availability of officers is a key issue. As officers move on from front line roles, there is a need to continually train new officers to maintain and then increase availability. The expansive geography of the force is also a key consideration and would lead the force to conclude that it is desirable to be above the national average in terms of trained and authorised officers.
  • The PCC enquired about the request to deploy 4 officers for training. It was stated that the Force were using 4 current vacant Firearms Officer (AFO) posts for a year which would not be filled before March 2024. It will then need to be considered for the budgeting for next year as to whether there will be a proposal to increase the total number of firearms and taser trainers.
  • PCC understands the rationale and greater use of the tactic, but sought assurance and clarification about the extent of public and stakeholder consultation. It was advised that a National Survey has been undertaken and working with the IAG’s.
  • PB sought clarification on the purchase of the X2’s. The spend is due to be over 5 year period but report says the devices are not available after March 2024. Also is the 5 year commitment the right approach considering the other equipment on the market. It was stated that using the Axon contract for the purchasing of devices is much more efficient and value for money compared to purchasing items separately.
  • GB asked how long testing took before the new generation Tasers become operational. It was advised that the new ones will be licensed next year and the X2’s expire end of March 24 so it would be into next year.

The board is recommended:

  1. To approve capital expenditure of £174,074
  1. To purchasing 75 devices through the Axon contract requiring contract expenditure over 5 years.
  2. To note the revenue costs (Section 4) will be included in the budget submissions from 2024/25.

Decision: The PCC is supportive of the recommendations as printed and grateful to the CC.

Ref 04/23/08/2023

Youth engagement provision – Paper – For Decision.

The Youth Engagement Provision paper was presented and discussed.

  • The paper outlines a review of Youth Engagement activity in Schools. It will adopt a three tier approach according to need and vulnerability.
  • Youth Engagement Teams will be clustered within each LPA.
  • Management of Steer Clear will transfer to the PCC Commissioned provider The Childrens Society.
  • The PCC welcomed that the report attempted to draw links to the Police and Crime Plan (PCP) but felt that more explicit links would be helpful.
  • GB asked whether the programme was just for State Schools? It was advised that it was, but there is an option to buy in for Private Schools.
  • The paper makes 6 recommendations:
  • Recommendation 1
    Focus YETs on providing police-prioritised preventative educational inputs to secondary school students.
  • Recommendation 2
    Create a standardised and consistent educational curriculum that will be delivered across West Mercia by the YETs.
  • Recommendation 3
    Build a data-led model to identify secondary schools most in need of policing support.
  • Recommendation 4
    Introduce a structured system for delivering youth engagement policing services to secondary schools.
  • Recommendation 5
    Merge the Safer Schools PCSOs (except for the two school-funded Safer Schools PCSOs in Telford) into the Youth Engagement Teams to create one team delivering the same product under the same banner.
  • Recommendation 6
    Redistribute youth engagement resources to ensure balanced delivery to all LPAs and their school communities.

Decision: – The PCC is supportive of the recommendations as outlined.

Ref 05/23/08/2023

Vetting of IAG Members – Paper – For Information.

The Vetting of IAG Members paper was presented and discussed.

The papers provided an update on whether the Force should continue to subject the IAG members to the WMP vetting process. This formed part of the recent review of the IAG framework and a recommendation made to COM in March which asked whether vetting should be minimised or tiered. It is a revision of a previous recommendation.

  • IAG’s play an important part in consultation and assurance of police activity and the value they add can be very informative.
  • IAG members are from diverse backgrounds which are of benefit. It is not therefore always necessary to apply the same criteria as vetting for police officers or staff, but is nonetheless important that applicants are subjected to the process for transparency.
  • The vetting is crucial due to the access to police information.

PCC noted the paper and was supportive of the proposed approach.

Ref 06/23/08/2023

Money Matters AP04 – Paper – For Information.

The Money Matters AP04 was presented and discussed.

  • The paper provides an updated as at AP4 which confirms the position of Qtr 1 and projection for the year.
  • PCC asked about the virement of the movement of 4 PC’s between LPA’s. It was advised that this was a technical post move in line with previously agreed budget implementation plans.
  • PCC confirmed this explanation was helpful and shows transparent process.
  • RHL advised that the changes would have gone through work force planning and her office and through the Change and Transformation Board, so the system is working.
  • The PCC mentioned about the risk around recruitment. This has not been discussed yet it is going to COM next week.

Action: CC and RHL to look at how information is presented to ensure there is a clarity and detail to cross reference to where a briefing by the CC to the PCC has already been made.

Decision: PCC supports and endorses the virements listed.

Ref 07/23/08/2023

2023/4 Budget Metrics Update – Paper – For Information.

The 2023/4 Budget Metrics Update was presented and discussed.

  • Paper outlines progress against the implementation of investment commitments made as part of the 2023-24 budget planning process.
  • PCC was grateful for the paper. One observation around performance data, not always clear about to good or bad element, needs to reflect the position and show improvement. It was advised that the colour coding had been removed.

Action: CC to look at how the information is presented to ensure there is a clarity around the impact of the performance data

Ref 08/23/08/2023

Op Lincoln Quarterly update – Papers – For Information.
The Op Lincoln Quarterly update paper was presented and discussed.

  • The paper provided an update of progress made since the last update to West Mercia Governance Board in April 2023.
  • The initial investigation of cases for Gross Negligence Manslaughter is now almost complete.
  • The focus of the investigative resources has now shifted towards investigating corporate liability and any potential offences of corporate manslaughter.
  • Investigation is still in a manageable state.
  • Details attached for Finance and Risk, nothing to escalate.
  • CC advised that other Forces with similar significant investigations, coming to look at our approach re Op Lincoln.
  • PCC – enquired whether vacancies were hampering the investigation RC responded that it has been challenging but is not jeopardising the investigation.

Action: RC to provide an update on the latest position of the investigation and recruitment in the next Qtly report.

Ref 09/23/08/2023

Change & Transformation Update – Paper – For Information.

The Change and Transformation Update paper was presented and discussed.

  • The report has transitioned from reporting against portfolios towards programmes and benefits.
  • People and Assets – risks flagged in Digital Services. Positive message around Digital Kiosks. 2 Kiosks to be live in October 2023 in Kidderminster and Redditch. The PCC commended the pace of the roll-out.
  • DST – 2,500 people now migrated to Greenfield.
  • RM advised that in August the device roll out was scheduled to be 1035, which equates to 300 per week. 1000 scheduled with 669 on target and all due to be done by 06.10.23.
  • PCC agreed a good piece of work.
  • Data Driven Policing programme, new programme governing ethical use of data. Will be subject of scrutiny at Change & Transformation Board as well as data governance board.
  • PCC asked for a DST strategic paper to come to a future WMGB meeting showing progress made to date and future strategy to maximise the benefits from the investment. It was confirmed that this has been agreed to be brought to the November meeting and is included in the forward plan.
  • RM stated that he could provide a report of where we are and talk about where next, including infrastructure. This will feature in future reports.

Ref 10/23/08/2023

ACC/ACO Directorate Updates – (Papers).
The papers were presented discussed and noted.

Business Services Update – RHL.
The paper was presented, discussed, and noted.

  • Workforce planning – 3 year plan and will focus on core skills and critical skills. Focus on retention levels.
  • Cultural Audit – surveyed focus groups. Positive news and finished product due next week. Reached about 10% of work force with good engagement with a good rich picture. CC advised that this will be discussed at the Senior Leaders event on 06.10.23 around ‘So What Next’ – to be used as a driver for change.
  • PCC asked about Work Force Planning and reassurance around the impact of the whole picture at any one point in time. It was advised that an exercise is being undertaken and list of secondments as at the end of July 23. All Secondments go to COM. All identified staff movements are included in the Work Force Plan.

Action: GB to provide clarity via email to RHL regarding precisely what detail is being sought around workforce statistics e.g. secondments and vacancies.

Crime & Vulnerability Update – RC.
The paper was presented, discussed, and noted.

  • PCC asked about Custody Suites being closed as commented by ICV’s due to staff shortages/challenges. It was advised that the next Custody Course is in late Sept/early Oct which will bolster staffing.
  • CC mentioned Op Soteria – National model with 6 pillars and a big focus on Continuous Professional Development. An update paper has been tabled at COM today under each pillar and will comply with practical commitments. This will go through a future LCJB meeting, but a high-level update will be provided at the 7/9/23 meeting.
  • CC advised that the Force were best in MSG in detection rate year to date. Pleased with the progress made and will continue to improve.

Action: ACC Cooper to send / present a High-Level Paper at the next LCJB meeting scheduled for 07.09.23.

Local Policing/OPS/Public contact/Prevention Portfolio Update – PM.
The paper was presented, discussed, and noted.

  • Nothing specific to discuss.
  • PCC would welcome a separate briefing around Public Contact.

Commercial Services Update – RM.
The paper was presented, discussed, and noted.

  • BIT (Budget Implementation Team) Clinics are underway and progressing well.
  • The impact of the police officer and staff pay awards is being built into financial modelling.
  • Other matters discussed and noted.

Ref 11/23/08/2023

AOB/Forward Plan.

AOB – None raised.

Forward plan – Amendments made:
October 2023 – IITCSE removed.
January 2024 – Local Policing Community Charter delivery (title amended).

Ref 12/23/08/2023

Next Meeting.
Wednesday 20th September 2023, at 14:00hrs in the Allsop Room, Hindlip.