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  1. Running its own services again gives Thames Valley chance to 'standardise processes'. In the pink: Change of emphasis with, from the left, Sergeant Dave Williams, Superintendent Katy Barrow-Grint, former Chief Inspector Dave Cherrington, Inspector Dave Entwistle Date - 27th November 2018 By - Nick Hudson - Police Oracle A force’s risk assessment of custodial services has prompted it to make a “big decision” and bring them back in-house next year. Thames Valley Police will reclaim the operation of its eight custody suites from service delivery company Noonan when the current contract ends on March 31. The chief constable’s management team is confident a close-working relationship with the current provider over the coming months will ensure a “smooth transition” of services. Detention officers will return to being force employees in line with The Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006. TUPE Regulations ensure that an employee’s rights and obligations under their current contract of employment are transferred to the receiving company. Force head of criminal justice Superintendent Katy Barrow-Grint said: “Bringing our custodial services in-house is a big decision for the force and it will require a lot of work to deliver this by the end of March 2019. “I believe that the change will provide us with the opportunity to standardise our processes and procedures across our custody suites and enable us to respond to national and local changes.” Police and crime commissioner Anthony Stansfeld added: “This is an important decision that will ensure value for money for local taxpayers as well enabling Thames Valley Police to operate the most effective custody service, keeping the public and detainees safe.” In August, the force announced it had decided to trial a new colour scheme at one of its custody suites to make it a “less threatening environment” for children being held in detention. Transforming the walls of an Abingdon cell, from white to pink, was based on an original idea from the force’s former lead for custody, Chief Inspector Dave Cherrington and which followed recommendations from Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services. The newly-painted cell custody suite was named ‘Cherrington’s Cell’ in honour of the officer who gave 30 years’ service to Thames Valley. View On Police Oracle
  2. Ian Weinfass reports on some of the internal lessons learned from one of the largest complex frauds in history. HBOS manager Lynden Scourfield at his first police interview in 2010. He would be jailed seven years later Date - 7th November 2018 By - Ian Weinfass - Police Oracle In 2016, one of the largest complex fraud cases went to court, with five men and a woman eventually jailed the following year for the £245 million scam. Thames Valley Police’s investigation into the crimes had actually begun in 2010 – and was nearly complete three years later. “We were capable of bringing charges in 2013," Detective Chief Inspector Tim Hurley, the deputy senior investigating officer (SIO) in the case, explained. "From then we were dealing with disclosure." The biggest investigation in the force's history eventually saw defendants including HBOS manager Lynden Scourfield and consultant David Mills jailed. Reading-based Scourfield was supposed to help the bank advise struggling companies, but he made them appoint Mills as an advisor at a high cost while running the firms into the ground, siphoning off profits made on small business owners' hardship. The bank tried to evict several of those from their homes. The scam was uncovered by some of the victims, whose complaints were ignored by HBOS. One victim who would expose the crime, Nikki Turner, told the BBC after the case: “Instead of protecting and supporting the victims of this scam they would persecute them, they would blame the customers, and that’s what they’ve done for 10 years and they’ve stuck to this story for 10 years. “We’ve been through 10 years of hell and so have lots of other victims.” But the extent of the crimes would only gradually emerge as investigators set about their work. Detective Chief Inspector Tim Hurley, who has been promoted since he was deputy SIO on the case, recalled: “When I started off this investigation, nobody knew where it was going. We thought it was going to be quite contained. The superintendent thought it would be finished by Christmas, but we found ourselves kept getting sucked into a hole and we just couldn’t get out of it.” Layer after layer transpired, along with an increasing number of victims, leading investigators to work flat out building a water-tight case. There were so many documents and other pieces of evidence that the force had to draft in temporary staff including data inputters to have the material sifted and in good enough shape to be used. Things began to go their way with the contradictory responses given by the main suspects in interview, as can be seen in the video below, but it would still be years before they faced court. There were numerous issues which made the investigation a huge challenge including: Witnesses and suspects living all over the UK, Europe and in the US. Difficulties getting enough, and suitable, people to work on the case. “That adds to the national debate that goes on about fraud and whether there should be a national perspective on this,” Det Chief Insp Hurley said. The lack of an appropriate case management system for such a crime. HOLMES was used for exhibits and actions, but a different process was needed overall. On top of that, once the investigation got going, it was clear it was of huge importance and the associated pressure mounted on those involved. The deputy SIO said: “Press, media, public, MPs, PCCs, you name it, everybody was getting involved and wanting to know what was going on. The bank […] the CPS, […] disclosure as well. “We ended up with what I call a pseudo-European approach. We found that CPS and barristers were very much at the forefront of the stuff that went on going towards court [to overcome disclosure issues].” The disclosure management plan was 200 pages long. He added: “We went far beyond what you would normally expect to do with disclosure. [But] we didn’t have any problems whatsoever at the trial with it and you can bet your bottom dollar if there had been an issue with a job like this, with all that material, that we would have lost it on disclosure. So, it worked.” People were in tears Det Chief Insp Hurley, speaking at the Police Federation National Detective Forum conference, reflected on how hard the huge case was for his team. He said: “I can honestly tell you this, we had people in tears at times on the job because of the pressure that they were under. “I put my hands up, as deputy SIO at the beginning I underestimated the impact this type of investigation would have because of the mental torture and stress people were under. “I put in what I thought was a reasonable strategy to deal with it, I identified signs and dealt with it through welfare support. “Where I took my eye off the ball is people who weren’t showing the signs, people who just get on with it because they keep going and don’t cause a problem and keep going, keep going and keep going. If I went through that again, the strategy would be across the board regardless of the individual - they would all be getting that support network.” He said that a clear health and safety assessment and wellbeing strategy is crucial for big cases, in particular, for detectives. “They work in the shadows, they work in the background and they don’t make a fuss generally,” he added. View On Police Oracle
  3. System has cost 'much more than expected'. A pioneering computer system designed to handle high levels of demand in control rooms has been delayed and is over budget. Thames Valley Police and Hampshire Constabulary worked with Microsoft to create a new £27million command and control platform in a bid to tackle an increase in missed 999 calls. Between March and June last year 2.1 per cent of 999 calls to TVP were unanswered, compared to 1.6 per cent in the same quarter the previous year. Figures from Hampshire Constabulary show the proportion of abandoned 999 calls rose from 0.9 per cent to 1.6 per cent during the same period. The system was set to be switched on in Thames Valley from January and in Hampshire in March, however this has been pushed back due to "rigorous testing" and will now cost an extra £5millon. The specially-designed software instantly brings up a caller's date and will allow police to flag up those who are a nuisance. Information can also be recorded on the vulnerability of the caller so if they call in the future the police can provide a more tailored response in emergency and non-emergency situations. Thames Valley Police Chief Constable Francis Habgood told a police and crime panel committee the force needed to be "confident" when launching the system. He said: "There are some systems that you are introducing which you could say 'we can take the risk'. "This is not one of them, because actually what we will get is a TSB type of situation where people won't be able to get through and we will not be able to manage those calls so we have to be confident in this." Police and Crime Commissioner Anthony Stansfeld, told the panel the system had cost "much more than expected". "I think it will be a very good system that will be adopted throughout the country when it comes in," he added. View On Police Oracle
  4. Thames Valley Police 'ring of steel' in place with 2,500 officers stationed in Windsor today. Thames Valley Police will mount its largest ever operation today as the Royal Wedding gets under way in Windsor. Months of planning will see officers protect the 2.6 mile route with Prince Harry and his bride Meghan Markle expected to be welcomed by more than 150,000 people. The massive police operation will see a “ring of steel” surround the town centre and St George's Chapel. The force says neighbourhood officers have patrolled Windsor town centre all week to engage with members of the public, answering any questions they may about the event. Inspector Andy Amor, who co-ordinated the patrols, said: “Our officers have been out and about in the town, on patrol, talking to members of the public. “These patrols are very much business as usual for us, however, they are all part of our security measures to ensure that everyone coming to Windsor for the Royal Wedding on Saturday has a safe and happy day. “Thames Valley Police is experienced at policing large scale events such as this. “I’m really pleased and proud to be involved in policing this event. Windsor is a fantastic town in which to live and work, and our officers are very much looking forward to Saturday and focussed on making sure that the event is secure and enjoyable for everyone involved.” The force has banned confetti saying the tradition posed a "potential security risk" but was also a "bit of a pain to clean up". Crowds in central London threw confetti during the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's wedding day in 2011. Prince William and Prince Harry also showered their father Prince of Wales and stepmother the Duchess of Cornwall with confetti as the newlyweds left Windsor Castle on the evening of their wedding in 2005. The Civil Aviation Authority has granted a request by Thames Valley Police for a Restriction of Flying Regulation in the vicinity of the Windsor Castle estate, banning aircraft below 2,500 feet. This will stop drones and light aircraft entering the airspace, but will not affect commercial jets as they operate at a higher altitude. The restriction is in place for 24 hours from 5am today. Exemptions are in place for the emergency services and media organisations. Last month Thames Valley Police Federation chairman Craig O’Leary told Police Oracle he was “absolutely confident” the force would be able handle the royal wedding - despite concerns over resources. Mr O’Leary said policing the event will be the “biggest single commitment” the force has ever undertaken. He said: “This is a big undertaking of resources on policing and operationally there are thousands of officers taking part, but it is business as usual. “The force has put the right measures and resources in place. Hopefully we shouldn’t face anymore challenges than this and deliver a safe royal wedding for everyone. “There may be teething problems on the day, but nothing we can’t overcome.” The force will face challenges in cover with more than 2,500 officers stationed in Windsor on the day. Officers will work 12-hour shifts - the majority on route-lining duties. View On Police Oracle
  5. Police horses could become a thing of the past for one force Caeser retired from TVP after ten years of service in 2016 Thames Valley Police could lose its mounted unit if cost-cutting proposals are approved. The police force runs one of just 13 mounted units in the UK. Gloucestershire Constabulary confirmed it would be re-establishing its mounted unit in August after a year-long trial, reversing years of budget cuts which saw mounted branches in Britain cut from 17 to 12 during 2012-15. But Police Oracle can reveal Thames Valley Police is considering giving its police horses the boot altogether. A spokesman for TVP said three options are on the table for the future of its mounted section: maintain the unit in its current form restructure the unit to “continue the service while delivering savings” removal by 2019 He said: “In line with forces nationally, Thames Valley Police continues to operate in an extremely challenging financial climate. The force has an ongoing commitment to deliver an effective and efficient police service that meets policing needs both now and in the future. “A number of options are being considered to enable the force to make investments and savings to deliver this commitment. “Various budget proposals will be presented to the Police and Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley, Anthony Stansfeld, later this month. “This will include proposals in relation to the Mounted Section, of which TVP is one of only a small number of forces nationally to retain its unit.” The proposals will be presented at a public meeting on January 23. Retired officer turned campaigning author Mike Pannett said the loss of any mounted will have a “massive knock-on impact” upon neighbouring forces who no longer have access to their own horses and upon other mounted sections who will have to travel huge distances to plug the gap. He said: “The word is catastrophic and that is not a word I use lightly. “We are already down to the bare bones. I have grave concerns about the capability of police to respond to kind of major public order incidents we faced during the 2012 riots.” He says “disastrous” cuts to police dog units are already on the cards, despite the fact some forces have already experienced reductions of 75 per cent in this area. “We are talking about the frontline of the frontline. These are invaluable assets. Mounted and dog units are worth their weight on gold. They say one police dog is worth ten officers and I can say the dogs saved my neck countless times on duty.” He said he did not want to criticise individual chief officers as they are facing “incredible financial pressure” but “would question where the cuts are coming from”. Mr Pannett also called for a national strategy on mounted and dog unit, similar to National Police Air Service. On Sunday, West Mercia Police Assistant Chief Constable Martin Evans tweeted his thanks to TVP's Mounted Section for helping his force police the Shrewsbury Town F.A cup tie with West Ham. TVP Mounted Section has tweeted about lending its support to Wiltshire, Leicester and Brighton Police over the last six weeks alone. View On Police Oracle
  6. Adamski

    Transferring in

    All, I have just submitted my transfer paperwork - I shall let you know how I get on :)
  7. Hi all, I recently applied to Hampshire constabulary and passed the first day assessment, but due to a review of their specials recruitment I won't be able proceed any further until the second half of next year. As I live in the very north east of Hampshire I was wondering about applying to Thames Valley constabulary. I'm pretty close to Reading. What is the recruitment situation like currently? Are there any issues with applying to two forces at the same time?
  8. Five police officers have been cleared of any wrongdoing in their handling of the death of Habib Ullah in High Wycombe. The officers have today been cleared of allegations of gross misconduct for their actions leading to Mr Ullah's death during a routine stop and search seven years ago, and for leaving out key pieces of information from statements subsequently submitted to the Independent Police Complaints Commission. Following a police misconduct hearing in Newbury, they have been cleared them of the charges. The officers are DS Jason Liles, DC Richard Bazely and PCs Chris Pommery, Katie Grainger and Howard Wynne. All of them were involved in searching and restraining Mr Ullah in Sharrow Vale on July 3, 2008. A package containing class A drugs became lodged in his throat and he later died at Wycombe Hospital. They were charged jointly with gross misconduct, while DS Liles faced a separate charge of gross misconduct in relation to the use of force he used to strike Mr Ullah to try and dislodge the package. The case was brought before the IPCC, who ruled the officers all had a case to answer. They have now been cleared by a body separate of the IPCC of all charges in today's verdict. Source article
  9. Anybody else attended an eligiblity event for a possible Early December 2015 training start date? Attended 28/05/2015 and application sent off today.
  10. All, I am trying to transfer between TVP and Avon and Somerset, but am experiencing difficulties. A&S are refusing to progress my application until TVP releases my entire HR file - which TVP has refused to do. Has anyone here who's transferred previously experienced a similar process, and could they let me know the outcome, by PM if preferable. TIA, Adam

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