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Community the key for Staffordshire’s new Chief Constable

Michael Cunningham

Mike Cunningham

The new man in overall charge of policing across Lichfield and Burntwood has pledged that community priorities will be at the forefront of Staffordshire Police’s work.

The pledge was made by Staffordshire’s new Chief Constable as he began his first day in the role.

Mike Cunningham has also promised that the force’s commitment to providing the highest possible level of service to the public will continue.

He joins the force from Lancashire Constabulary where he started his policing career in 1987 and, for the last two years, has been Deputy Chief Constable.

Chief Constable Cunningham added:

“I am honoured and privileged to be Chief Constable of Staffordshire, and I hope that will be reflected in being able to lead the force effectively for the foreseeable future. I am very much looking forward to buying a home here and getting to know the area.

“Staffordshire has a fantastic reputation as a high-performing, forward-thinking and innovative force that is brave enough to take risks. Its successes are rooted in a genuine commitment to putting the needs of communities and victims first. I share that commitment, and am delighted to have the opportunity to lead an organisation whose ethos and priorities focus on the important issues in policing.”

Mr Cunningham added that the force’s mission to inspire the greatest possible levels of trust and confidence amongst the people it serves would continue.

He added:

“The trust and confidence agenda is the right agenda. Trust fosters confidence, and is a reliable indicator that people are safe and feel safe. Building trust and confidence in policing is like any other relationship – you have to work very hard for it, and earn it. It’s very important to me that we have the trust and confidence of victims and witnesses, and of the wider community and those people who might never need to contact us.

“I passionately believe that neighbourhood policing is the foundation on which our relationships with communities are built and depend. If people can access our services, if we are visible to them and if we provide answers to their questions and solutions to their problems, then those relationships and the trust that comes with them will flourish.

“It is by looking at issues that people tell us are their priorities, such as anti-social behaviour or graffiti, that we can win their confidence. And it means that, on those rarer occasions when communities are troubled by major crime, we can tackle it from a position of strength.

“Community priorities are our priorities, and our neighbourhood policing officers and staff must be attentive and responsive to those needs. I am very keen to see where neighbourhood policing can take us in the future.”

During his first few weeks in post Mr Cunningham is planning a series of visits throughout the force area to help him “understand our communities and the force in more detail” and to meet many of the partner organisations in the region

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13 Comments

  1. Classcrisis

    14th September, 2009 at 11:58 am

    We agree that community policing is important, that the police should respond to the needs of the community in a structured and measurable way. Not just say it.

    Perhaps anti-social behaviour and graffiti are important issues to us as a community but it seems that it is used in this press release as a stock phrase with no real substance.

    Perhaps someone from the police could follow up this press release and provide the community with details of the mechanisms that exist for the community to influence the priorities of our police in our community.

  2. Tax payer

    14th September, 2009 at 2:48 pm

    Here is an idea -if you mean what you say – rent a place in the area recently called “Beirut”.
    You will then know what crime is like and not just read about it in a police/media hand out.
    Better still if the police station has to move put it amonst the worst crime area not hide it at the distant edge of the city.
    Or is it a case the police would not like to live/work in the area mentioned?

  3. Classcrisis

    14th September, 2009 at 3:57 pm

    Has anyone else seen the little picture quotes in Lichfield police station and on the backs of their vans? They detail problems that have been raised with them – Problem outlined, picture of a bobby and the solution they have provided. The most sickening being the one outlining how they solved anti social behaviour at Dimbles shops, a solution so comprehensive that anti social behaviour became murder within six months of their declariation. It’s still there, walk through the door of Lichfield police station and look left, a whole wall of police cheer leading the police. No shame.

    Perhaps the answers to our problems can’t be provided by the police, or the police should be doing what we want them to do, not telling us what we want them to do and not doing it anyway.

  4. Unconcerned Citizen

    14th September, 2009 at 5:48 pm

    He looks nice in that photo though.
    Maybe they should use him for those cardboard cutout police men they have at petrol stations.
    I find the current cardboard cut out rather intimidating and it really puts me off my armed robberies.

  5. gastank

    14th September, 2009 at 7:34 pm

    Not sure what the problem is in the so called Beirut area, the crime rate per 1000 of the population is only 7.1, 4.4 and 5.5 for each of the last three reported months. Contrast this with an average rate of 45.8 in the Park Hall and Chuckery area of Walsall for the last year (which is by no means the worst area in Walsall). Just goes to show how people form perceptions and don’t realise they really have it quite good in Lichfield, even in the supposed worst area. See details:

    http://crimemapping.staffordshire.police.uk/map/?q=Lichfield+city+centre+Neighbourhood&url=lichfield-city-centre

    and

    http://www.myneighbourhood.info/myn2/html/figures/crimeTable?regioncode=H104&marker=WS1+2BG%5b402196.0%2c298603.0%5d

  6. Unconcerned Citizen

    14th September, 2009 at 8:42 pm

    I’ve gotta agree with gastank on this..
    My mom lives up north and its pretty rough.
    Most people seem to have big (illegal looking) dogs, brocken glass cemented in the top of their garden walls, razor wire across fences…. im not making this up.
    Lichfield is like disneyland compared to some of the genuinly ‘rough’ estates in the country.
    There may be a few drunken yobs and the odd ‘career’ criminal, but on the whole its lovely.

  7. Tax payer

    14th September, 2009 at 11:26 pm

    There is no doubt Lichfield is nicer than a lot of other places and that is the way we should keep it.
    Do not fall into the trap of thinking it will stay nice if “Good men do Nothing”.Not long ago the idea that our children would be able to buy drugs at or near school would have been unthinkable but now – – -.By the way – do you believe the stats the Gov/Officials pump out?Do you or your friends report all the crimes you see ?Have you tried to report crimes?
    The first time i tried the person on the other end of the phone asked – “where is Lichfield!”After three calls i gave up!

  8. Tax payer

    15th September, 2009 at 12:17 am

    I wonder if a real copper reads this?
    If so please make yourself known – we could have a debate.
    The police are apparently keen to talk to the plebs – here is a cheap and simple way to do it.

  9. gastank

    15th September, 2009 at 10:49 am

    -.By the way – do you believe the stats the Gov/Officials pump out?Do you or your friends report all the crimes you see ?Have you tried to report crimes?
    The first time i tried the person on the other end of the phone asked – “where is Lichfield!”After three calls I gave up!

    No not at all – I read some of the Police blogs. However I don’t believe that Staffordshire Police are so much more adept at massaging the figures than West Midlands Police. Both figures may be understated but I suspect the underlying gap between crime levels will still be about the same, whatever the true total crime rate is. Plus I would say people in Lichfield would be more likely to report crime than people in Walsall because it is less of an every day occurrence and does not occur in such volume. Also for car crime and burglary people will report it because they need a crime number for the insurance claim.

  10. Classcrisis

    15th September, 2009 at 2:08 pm

    We don’t think the comparison with other areas and their crime rates is useful unless you’re thinking of moving house.

    Just because things could be worse is no reason to be satisfied with the way they are. The focus should be on making Lichfield district the best place it can possibly be to live. That has as much if not more to do with us as a community as it has to do with the police.

    Criminals are not some abstract notion – whether they are of the anti-social variety, burglers or drug dealers – they are members of our community. We have a role in defining what is and isn’t acceptable behaviour and holding people to account, by that we’re not suggesting any kind of vigilante action. It is a fact that working class people are the most likely to be victims of crime.

  11. gastank

    15th September, 2009 at 6:58 pm

    “We don’t think the comparison with other areas and their crime rates is useful unless you’re thinking of moving house. ”

    Then on what basis would you determine where the finite resources should best deployed? On this basis Boley Park should get the same Police resources as Curborough. How do you judge if your area is really bad or not for crime?

    Not all criminals are members of your local community for instance they may be of the away day variety (out of town millennium burglars and dealers coming in to supply), unless you define community much more widely. In which case the areas and crime rates they come from are of relevance because targeting of resources may have displaced them cross border.

  12. Classcrisis

    15th September, 2009 at 7:50 pm

    Make up your mind what the figures should be used for gastank. The quote from us your questioning was in response to you saying “Just goes to show how people form perceptions and don’t realise they really have it quite good in Lichfield, even in the supposed worst area.”

    Did we right off crime statistics as useless? No, we didn’t. We wrote off your application of them in that comment as useless.

    The Curborough/Boley Park comparison is a straw man entirely of your own construction, we have argued no such thing. The irrelevance of your question to the point we made notwithstanding the deployment of police resources is out of our control and as we pointed out in our first comment on this article there is no mechanism in place with which we can influence it.

    The fact that some criminals may venture into Lichfield from outside doesn’t have any bearing at all on our argument that we have a role in defining acceptable behaviour and holding people to account. Can you point us to the part where we said this would end all crime in the area?

  13. gastank

    15th September, 2009 at 8:49 pm

    “The irrelevance of your question to the point we made notwithstanding the deployment of police resources is out of our control and as we pointed out in our first comment on this article there is no mechanism in place with which we can influence it.”

    Become a councillor or lobby the existing, apply to join the Police authority, go to the neighbourhood policing meetings. Go to see Fabricant at his surgeries. Work out what types of crime get the Police interested it will amaze you how many people will come running if right type of crime exists i.e. a hate crime. Also make sure everybody reports all crimes, when figures start to go the wrong way the SMT will start to ask questions.

    “The fact that some criminals may venture into Lichfield from outside doesn’t have any bearing at all on our argument that we have a role in defining acceptable behaviour and holding people to account.”

    Agreed but I think what crime really means to you personally as a problem is drunken youths hanging around swearing intimidating people and causing criminal damage. For more serious criminals you need to catch them otherwise if you don’t know who they are its a bit of a problem holding them to anything.

    It is not Moss Side you have just over one reported crime a day – no gun crime, very few burglaries, zero robberies. Most of it is relatively low level anti social behaviour. Even when the murder happened, which was so shocking because of the rarity the mother of one of them shopped him within minutes, would that happen elsewhere?

    I agree that the working classes get most of the crime but unfortunately which class commits it against them – former members of the working class. Sure things could be better but it is nowhere near as bad as some of the estates up north that Unconcerned Citizen mentioned. Many people said the picture painted of the area after the murder was not one they recognised.