In my second year as Chairman we have seen significant changes to the policing landscape both national and locally. Together with the Police, we faced a number of challenges and have worked diligently to overcome them. I am delighted to see that the City of London Police has continued to ensure that the City remains safe and secure, as demonstrated by the performance figures for the past year.
The Force has the full support of the Committee as they undertake a major review of the way policing is delivered in the City. This radical programme to fundamentally transform our police service will be delivered within our current budgetary & financial constraints. However, be assured that during this significant time of change, the Force will continue to deliver a visible and effective police service in the City.
I am a strong advocate of innovation and creative ways of working. One of the areas of innovation I am most proud of is Project Servator – which deploys officers to detect and disrupt potential terrorist activity and to prevent and combat crime. It also provides an opportunity to educate the public and provide a reassuring, visible presence on the streets. And it delivers excellent results – with a stop and search success rate of approximately 70%. This approach is now being introduced in other areas of the country. In addition to this, to further enhance our efforts to counter the terrorist threat, I have successfully secured funding for additional armed police to ensure we can respond effectively to any threat within the City.
The City of London Police continues to play its part on the national stage working in partnership with National Crime Agency and other major partners in the development of the National Economic Crime Centre. We are working hard to build upon all the existing relationships to ensure that the expertise and hard-earned reputation of the City Force is maximised within the new structures. The Force’s involvement with a variety of national bodies and the contribution it makes to the wider world of policing reflects the Force’s status and reputation it holds nationally and internationally.
Closer to home, one of the year’s successes has been the way in which the Force, in close partnership with the City Corporation & our City partners, has worked to tackle violent crime & ASB in the City. Licensees continue to work with the Force to ensure that their premises are well-managed and that the City remains a safe, vibrant and attractive place to live, work and visit. The Force is well supported by our Safer City Partnership – a forum where our local partners come together to ensure the safety and security of all those in our community. The Partnership is an important embodiment of the spirit and community in the square mile.
Mention must also be made of the shocking events that unfolded on 3rd June within the City boundaries on London Bridge as the City of London Police responded instantly, side-by-side with their emergency services colleagues. The high degree of interoperability between City of London Police, the British Transport Police and the Metropolitan Police Service in the initial response shows the real value of the extensive training that these frontline officers undergo. I am tremendously proud of the part the City of London Police played protecting London on that day and I was honoured to attend the special Commendation Ceremony held for those that played a key role in that response.
I would also like to praise the work of our Cadets & our Special Constabulary – who are deployed right across the Force most notably in the Economic Crime Directorate where they help in preventing and tackling fraud. One notable initiative is the establishment of the ‘Cy-Fi Juniors’, a mini police programme intended to create prevention ambassadors by educating young people (age 8-11) on the risks associated with cyber and financial crime. This is being piloted in London and will be rolled out nationally. In addition, I welcome the creation of the City of London Police Reserve. This is a strategy for all volunteering in the force, encompassing the Special Constabulary, Cadets and all other volunteers. It will see the Special Constabulary double in size to just over 100; the Cadets to over 60; and the recruitment of as many volunteers (both individually and in partnerships with appropriate organisations) as the force can constructively use, utilising new roles and powers for volunteers that came into force last year. This integrated approach is being piloted in the City and it is intended that it will become the national template and “gold standard” for the recruitment, retention and deployment of volunteers in policing nationally.
The year ahead presents its own challenges, particularly the uncertainty around funding and we will work to ensure that the commitment already given to the Force continues. The Police Committee will continue to offer its support and assistance to the Commissioner over this period to secure a policing service that meets the requirements and needs of the City Communities.
Finally, I would like to pay tribute to my colleagues on the Police Committee. I wish to thank them for their continued support and the time and dedication that they give to the work of the Committee, the Sub-Committees and the vast number of internal and external forums that we collectively take part in.
Deputy Douglas Barrow