Rt Hon Suella Braverman KC MP
2 Marsham Street
London SW1P 4DF
06 October 2023
HMICFRS Spotlight Report: Values and Culture in Fire and Rescue Services
I am writing to you in response to the above HMICFRS report published on 30th March 2023. The spotlight report commissioned by the Minister of State for Crime, Policing and Fire focused on the value and culture of all 44 fire and rescue services (FRS) in England. Unusually, the national FRS report included 1 standalone recommendation for Chief Constables of local police forces. Below I set out how the Chief Constable in West Mercia has addressed this recommendation.
Recommendation: By 1 September 2023, chief constables should make sure they are appropriately using their Common Law Police Disclosure powers in circumstances involving employees of fire and rescue services.
I am pleased to report that West Mercia Police’s Chief Constable Pippa Mills wrote to the inspectorate in July 2023, confirming that the force is already compliant with this recommendation. The recommendation has subsequently been signed off by HMICFRS.
In her letter to the inspectorate, Chief Constable Mills provided evidence of assurance and audit activity undertaken in force following the publication of the report to ensure full compliance with local policies and processes. The evidence provided by the Chief Constable gives us both confidence that West Mercia Police is appropriate capturing information and protecting those vulnerable to harm where it is proportionate and legitimate to disclose information to the FRS.
Further, immediate disclosure where appropriate forms part of the force’s Op Reset Continuous Professional Development (CPD) training sessions to remind frontline staff of the necessity to consider disclosure as a matter of course.
As set out in my Safer West Mercia Plan, I remain committed to deliver closer working with our local FRS where it is in the public interest, and I am hopeful that lessons learned in policing will continue to be used to support and drive cultural change across the emergency services sector.
Police and Crime Commissioner
cc West Mercia Police Chief Constable