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Posts from 2016-03-01

David Jamieson comments on plans for PCCs to run free schools

West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson has had his say on the Home Secretary's plan for PCCs to run free schools for troubled children.

Mr Jamieson - a former headteacher with more than 25 years' education experience - said he was 'uncertain' about the proposals.

Home Secretary Theresa May this week unveiled plans for more powers for Police and Crime Commissioners, branching out into areas of youth justice, probation and court services after the elections in May.

She said PCCs should 'bring together the two great reforms of the last parliament - police reform and school reform' to establish 'alternative provision of free schools to support troubled children and prevent them falling into a life of crime'.

She also said that the work of Police and Crime Commissioners had proved 'valuable' and was 'here to stay'.

West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson said: “I note the home Secretary’s praise of the innovative work of PCCs the last few years.  

“I am particularly proud of the record we have here in the West Midlands.

We have set up the country’s first Victims’ Commission, recruited new officers and made stop and search more proportionate.

We have also introduced a new approach to supporting people with mental health needs so they are now much less likely to end up in police cells or hospital and invested in a new partnership with the NHS to reduce violent crime.

We have also more than doubled the number of officers working on crimes like domestic violence, child abuse and human trafficking.  

“Before becoming an MP and a PCC, I was a teacher and headteacher for more than 25 years. I must confess, this idea of reuniting with my former profession has come out of the blue and I’m not sure it’s top of the class - I thought my school days were over.  

“I am uncertain that PCCs running schools fits entirely within our brief or, more importantly, is the best thing for children. Schools should be run by teachers and education experts."

WMPCC to hold hearing into unacceptable motorway delays following public outrage

PCC to hold hearing into unacceptable motorway delays following public outrage

On Thursday 4th February, there were severe tailbacks on the M6 motorway following an incident between Junctions 5 and 6 in the early hours of the morning in which somebody tragically lost their life. The motorway was not fully re-opened until nearly 24 hours later.

West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson will be holding a hearing in public into the multi-agency response in the aftermath of the fatal incident on the M6, to make sure that lessons are learnt and co-ordination is as strong as it can be in the future.

The Police and Crime Commissioner has invited local authorities, West Midlands Police and Highways England to a hearing in public on March 18th at Birmingham City Council House to account for the way in which they responded to the aftermath of the crash to learn the lessons from the incident and how it can be better co-ordinated in future.

The PCC will make recommendations on how the motorway can be re-opened as quickly, but safely as possible in future through better co-ordination and joint working.

The crash led to huge delays across the region and the motorway itself was not fully re-opened for nearly 24 hours. It is estimated that motorway closures cost over £1 billion a year to the UK economy, which has a big impact on jobs and growth.

Ahead of the Public Hearing the Police and Crime Commissioner is calling on people and businesses to submit evidence on how they were affected by the crash and the effect it had on them. Evidence can be submitted here: www.westmidlands-pcc.gov.uk/m6delay

West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson said, “Any death on our roads is a tragic loss of life and our sympathies go out to the family. “In addition to which the huge tailbacks on the transport network which will have cost the regional economy millions of pounds.

“Whole day closures have a huge impact on the economy, therefore we need to make sure that organisations are held to account to make sure they are doing all they can to open the motorway as quickly and safely as possible.

“I will be publicly scrutinising the way in which all the agencies worked together to establish the level of multi-agency working that took place around managing traffic and re-opening the motorway in the aftermath of the incident.

I hope this hearing will act as a stimulus for a more structured working relationship between the police, Highways England and local authorities if a similar incident occurs in the future.

“I will be using my powers as PCC to ensure that these matters are heard in public and properly scrutinised. I have previously called on the Secretary of State for Transport to take hold of this issue to make sure that we are doing all we can to ensure that co-ordination and joint working between different agencies is as strong as possible.

“I want to hear from people and businesses about the effect that it had on them to get a full picture of the impact of the delays ahead of the hearing in public.

I would urge anyone who was stuck in the delays to let me know their experiences so we can get a full picture of what happened and the impact upon the region. Please get in touch via www.westmidlands-pcc.gov.uk/m6delay.

“I have made supporting the regional economy one of my top priorities in my police and crime plan. These delays and lengthy closures have a huge impact on jobs and growth. That is why I am so keen that the agencies involved learn the right lessons going forward.

The hearing in public will take place at 10 am to 1 pm, in Committee Room 2, Birmingham City House on Friday 18th March. The hearing will be webcast via www.westmidspcc.public-i.tv/

The hearing in public will deal solely with the aftermath of the incident and the co-ordination between agencies, not the crash itself. The PCC will chair the hearing and the questioning will be supported by his Strategic Policing and Crime Board.

 

WMPCC heads to Westminster for change in 'zombie knives' law

West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson is this week meeting with Karen Bradley MP at the Home Office as part of his campaign against the sale of ‘zombie knives’.  

Mr Jamieson wants a change to the Policing and Crime Bill currently going through Parliament to include a total ban on the sale of the weapons.  

Mr Jamieson will be meeting with the Minister, as well as Shadow Policing Minister Jack Dromey MP, to discuss banning the brutal blades, which have names such as Head Splitter and Death Dagger and can be up to 2ft long with serrated edges.  

West Midlands Police’s lead officer for knife crime today said he shared the Commissioner’s concerns about ‘zombie knives’ and a Chief Inspector with the Metropolitan Police told Mr Jamieson he is finding them ‘almost daily now’.  

In the West Midlands, a ‘zombie knife’ has already been found and seized by police and the team behind the region’s knife surrender bins said its members were finding more and more examples of ‘intimidation weapons’.  

Nationwide, there are reports of the weapons being increasingly used by criminal gangs as status symbols, with some gang members posting videos online posing with the blades.  

West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson said: “I have been campaigning against ‘zombie knives’ since last summer and, as a result, the Home Office is already considering banning the sale of these weapons.

I am going to use this meeting with Karen Bradley MP to really push for that.   “I want the Minister to amend the Policing and Crime Bill currently going through parliament to include a ban on the sale of ‘zombie knives’.   “I am also going to ask if there is anything I – or any of my fellow Police and Crime Commissioners nationwide – can do to help in the fight against these gruesome weapons.

“'Zombie knives’ have no practical usage whatsoever and can be bought for as little as £8 online.

They are being increasing used by criminal gangs as status symbols and I know both the public and the police feel as strongly as I do about this issue.   “I am pleased to report that since writing to their chief executive, Amazon UK have tightened up their security and ‘zombie knives’ have disappeared from their pages. I now want other retailers to follow suit and the law to change.

I want an amendment to the Policing and Crime Bill detailing a ban on the sale of such weapons.   “We are increasingly seeing these knives on the streets, recently West Midlands Police confiscated a large ‘zombie knife’ in Sutton Coldfield.  

“I am not against the legal and responsible sale of knives in general: obviously they have a practical use in the home and garden. But these ‘zombie knives’ have no practical usage whatsoever and no sensible person wants to see them for sale and then turning up on streets. Hopefully, this meeting will be the first step towards a real change in the law.”  

Detective Chief Inspector Ian Parnell from West Midlands Police CID – the force lead for knife crime - added: “I too share the PCC’s concerns around ‘zombie knives’.  

“To the best of my knowledge there are no examples of them being used in crime in the West Midlands yet but unfortunately I fear this will change.

“A knife should be treated with the same level of seriousness as a firearm. There’s a story behind every knife and we need to make sure we are asking all the right questions.”

There are 13 knife surrender bins across Birmingham and the Black Country and the Commissioner today urged anyone with a zombie knife – or any weapon – to dispose of it in one of the bins. The full list is here: http://www.westmidlands-pcc.gov.uk/key-issues/weapon-surrender-bins

  • A ‘zombie knife’ is characterised by the following features: a blade that is more than 3½ inches long; no practical usage; the glorification of violence; bright colours and over-the-top/unnecessary decoration.