/ Chief Constable Webchat - Transcript

Q. Can you ban alcohol at music festivals after recent violent acts at Parklife?

A. Well I think it’s open to the people who license music festivals, working with the organisers, as to whether there’s going to be alcohol sold or not. So I think the provision is there. I think anybody going to music festivals has got to be realistic about what it’s like and a lot of people clearly drink, it’s part of the experience, not that I go to music festivals. Clearly the violence at Parklife, with the two incidents are very regrettable. They are being investigated. But I think at events to be fair, at Parklife and other festivals on the whole they’ve got quite a good record. In fact, it’s a shame these two incidents, it shouldn’t harm the [story?] overall. Clearly we’ve got people enjoying the festival and it is difficult really putting Parklife in a residential area. I know they’ve got people trying to work with them but as I said I think something about the sale of alcohol, certainly the sensible sale of alcohol is something we will review again. We will be discussing it at next year’s event meeting. [CC]

It’s just worth adding, we’ve got the biggest international festival, the World Cup coming up. Alcohol will be sold but we want to send a simple message out to Greater Manchester that we want people to enjoy the party and we want people to enjoy Parklife. It’s a part of what makes this Nation a great place for people to live, there’s lots going on, but in the end, to relate to the Chief Constable, it’s making sure that very small minority of people are not to spoil things for others. We will not tolerate it. Because most people will want the party to be a great party as most people want communities to be great and actually working with people and other agencies to create an area where people can enjoy themselves. And alcohol is a part of that. It’s about drinking responsibly and making sure that the occasional trouble-maker doesn’t ruin it for everybody else. [PCC]

Q. Can we have assurance that police dogs/handlers will not face cuts. They do a terrific job.
A.  They certainly do a really important job. There was a reduction in the number of dogs, some years ago, just before I became Chief Constable and I know there was a lot of controversy about that. Particularly in the Force that I had to settle down, I know the unit do a good job but I have to be faced with some difficult decisions in the future. Although the situation is improving our budget is on continual decline and every part of the Force’s activity will have to be looked at and that will make our decision. [CC]

Q. Is it ok for an off duty officer to use offensive language AT a child?
A. I don’t think it is. It all depends about the circumstance and an officer is liable for his or her conduct on duty as well as off duty. That’s part of being a Police Officer. So if somebody is concerned about that we would advise that they make a complaint and the matter will be investigated. [CC]
Complaints can be made here - http://www.gmp.police.uk/content/section.html?readform&s=E967B51C77A01ECB80257AB5003174BE

Q. As career evening and events intend to begin, what career advice and pathways could you advise for someone intending to join the Force?

A. There are actually still a number of jobs that we are recruiting for, I think the important thing to say is there are lots of other jobs in policing other than being a police officer. And more and more the police officers we are recruiting are mature individuals who have often done other jobs in policing or other jobs out there in society. So I would say to any young person get as many qualifications as you can, work as hard as you can in school, get as much experience in life as you can, do voluntary work, think about the different routes in to policing which could include being a Special Constable, being Community Support Officer, working in a number of other roles in policing, we have various administration jobs which are a good way in. As I say, I would say to any young person don’t narrow your options – the more you learn the more you can go into. Policing is becoming more and more complex, we will be expecting higher and higher standards, so it’s really about getting a good experience, getting good qualifications and looking into the various other jobs available in policing other than being a police officer which are often a good start.

Q. I am very well aware that the Chief Constable is doing his utmost to recruit members of the ethnic community to his workforce as he wants his forceto reflect the diverse community their serve in. Mr Fahy does come across as very genuine not just with this but other community initiatives he has been involved in.
A. Well I would just like to make it very clear about the reason why we want to add more members from ethnic minorities to the police Force. It’s a very strong operation link, it’s not for a target, it is because of the nature of the society we see. It’s the need to gather intelligence, we need to do things like undercover work, but it also forms the legitimacy of policing. And we do reflect the society we come from and we’ve got great diversity here in Greater Manchester. So a lot of effort has gone into that and making sure we try and recruit from communities that we police. The bedrock of policing is all about our relationship with the public, for all the great technology and great squads, the most important thing is that we are able to go out and talk to people and build a relationship with the public and get their cooperation.

Q. What is the Force doing for juvenile offenders to stop them from reoffending instead of convicting them at such a young age?
A. Well I think of the success stories in this country in recent years is that there has been a big drop in youth crime over the past few years. Police in GMP are playing a big part in that as well as Forces across the Nation. Certainly sending a child to custody is the very last resort and taking them to court is a last resort and we work with other agencies to target the young people and think of other initiative, such as community based initiatives to try and tackle that. We are making huge use of restorative justice, one-off cautions, involve the community in panels, we work very closely with the schools.

Q. Why are crimes treated and acted upon differently across GMP , especially racist crimes
A. That’s certainly not the case, but could be referring to cases of Hate Crime in which case there will be variations. We cover a big territory across Greater Manchester, officers and staff will react to priorities, although some might call it a racist crime, in terms of its nature it may different. There is always a bit of tension and some parts of policing which need to be consistent. But there also needs to be some local variation, including some individual officers need some discretion about how they deal with acts of racism.

Q. I see another pedestrian has been killed by a cyclist riding on the footpath. What should you be doing about this problem?
A. On the footpath it gets a bit more difficult, especially where children are concerned it can be very dangerous for people to cycle on footpaths and it is advised that they ride on the roads. Clearly more and more people are now cycling and the road is not always designed for that, but on the other hand cycling on the pavement is anti social. It is about taking some enforcement action but at the same time saying to adults, essentially what is wrong with the road. We need to work with local communities and local authorities on how we can get more facilities for cyclists and work past the road network so there is more room for cyclists.

Q. How can someone report criminal behaviour online? Found on sites such as YouTube etc?
A. You can always contact us on the 101 number, which is for non-emergencies. There is also Action Fraud, which is where you can report online scams and fraud activity. This would be a difficult issue, where if it is a crime on the internet it may involve us speaking to the website provider to try and get them to take down any criminal activity that might be online. So people can report it but I’m not promising that it will be easy for us to solve it, it is obviously a new area that’s growing and existing legislation hasn’t been designed to deal with these cases.

Q. Dear Mr Fahy/Lloyd, Do you not think GMP is shooting itself in the foot by telling everyone that GMP is coping,crime is falling,even though you have much less resources and funding? Should not your message to the Government be : " No,policing is getting worse!" If the Government is told everything is okay, funding and resources may be cut even more and police morale will continue to get worse. Do you agree?
*Poor audio quality*

Q. Can you define what reasonable force is please? As a martial artist if I ever need to defend myself or my family because of an attempted crime i.e. robbery or burglary, I could end up seriously injuring someone as a result of only using one technique on the criminal. There may not be time to wait for a police response. Would it not be better to be judge by 12 than carried out by 6 in any event?! Thanks.
A. The law is very clear that you can use reasonable force in the circumstances, obviously to defend yourself and arrest an offender. Ultimately it’s up for the jury to decide, but the law states that that has to be judged by the situation you are in. We cannot accept someone at great threat to be rational and that has to be considered. In recent years we’ve had a number of cases in Greater Manchester with people defending their property and in an act of defence have ended up killing the suspect. There haven’t been any course cases or charges in those cases. The way in which you protect your property has to be proportionate to the threat imposed by the offender.

Q. Are you planning to increase the Dog Section?

A. Unfortunately no, we are not currently planning to increase the dog section. They do a really good job but people need to understand this is a difficult situation and we have to review every aspect of the Force and weigh up where we can make reductions. Although the economy is getting better the police are still in a recession and we have to face making some difficult decisions.
8:45[ Comment From Nikki Nuttall Ric...Nikki Nuttall Ric... :]

Q. Are drug testing kits available over the counter? If not when will they be because it seems to me that more and more teenagers are going off the rails due to drug use, and parents need help to nip it in the bud ?

A. The important thing to note is that use of drug/ alcohol related crime is going down, so I think that’s a positive step in showing that young people are less involved in drug and alcohol use. We are particularly concerned about cases where young people attend parties and clubs and take ecstasy and various other illegal drugs and illegal highs. So there is a serious issue here but I don’t know if drug testing kits are available and I don’t know whether we have the resources to get testing kits. There are of course websites where you can get advice and guidance on dealing with someone who may possibly be taking drugs. I know this is a difficult issue with teenagers, but schools do participate in tackling this issue and it is about getting this information out so youngsters are made aware of the risks of taking certain drugs.

Q. If the police raid a building or place, but do not leave a recovery note, how do you contact the officers involved?
A. You can ring the police on 101 and we can help with the matter. Under normal practices if we search premises, we must leave documentation as part of the police act. It is dependent on the circumstance of the case but if you have any question you need help with we would advise that you call 101.

Q. Dear Sir Peter, please can more neighbourhood police officers patrol on foot? We never see them, just the PCSO's, but they are very limited when dealing with criminals, they can't arrest. The use of less cars would save the force money and petrol and would be used for response officers, and more importantly we would have a face to face with swore officers. It is very difficult to communicate with officers that drive pass you in a car often with 2-3 officers in. More crime would be deterred if officers are visible and feeling collars. Please look into this. Thanks.
A. We have 1200 fewer officers than we had in the past few years. We have tried to make use of alternatives, such as back office operations as well as presenting on frontline. And the officers have been spending more time responding to incidents than investigating crime. It is also true that their work is more targeted, so it is targeted at a time when a crime is occurring. Many patrol Manchester City Centre on weekend nights, when people are out at nightclubs. So whilst we do agree that having more officers present in troubled communities could help to reduce crime, we do try to preserve that and we are trying to use the best tactics and getting our officers in an area where there is more chance of catching criminals and tackling crime.

Q. Is the community reporter programme worthwhile? How much does the Force get out of sending members of the public out on patrol?
A. It provides the public with a better understanding of what the Force do, day in day out. It allows us to show our transparency and allows members of the public to come along and see what we do. Obviously custody is a different matter, so it is only one part of policing that we can offer transparency on. But we do need to look into other ways of showing the public exactly what policing is about, the various tactics, challenges and difficult decisions we face. Offering members of the public to join our officers on patrol all helps in providing that better understanding of policing.

Q. How can I get to know my local Neighbourhood officers?
A. Please visit the GMP website where you can see a list of all the officers who work in your area and all the contact details to get in touch.

Q. How many chief officers do we have in the Force?
A. The number of chief officers varies overtime and there are some personal circumstances involved in that. If officers want to transfer to various other local authorities so we can work more closely as multi-agency partnerships, this often means there is a reduction in officers.

Q. Dear Chief Constable, unknown motorists keep blocking my private driveway. This prevents me getting my car off my driveway and getting my car on my driveway. What do I do about this if I don't know where the motorists are, and is this a police matter? Thanks.
A. As it is an obstruction, the next time it happens if you take the numbers of the cars involved and contact us on 101 we will see what we can do. Although it is to an extent a council matter, we will try our best do whatever we can do to get the car removed.

Q. Would you arrest a member of the royal family if they committed a crime? For example the Queen?
A. The Queen stated ground immunity under a legislation which means she cannot be prosecuted. However this does not apply to other members of the Royal Family and they can be arrested and prosecuted if they have committed a crime.

Q. Where would I be able to get a rape alarm?
A. You can request a rape alarm from your local police station. There are also a number of rape charities that can help with this.

Q. Who is actually responsible for processing DBS Checks in this locality. What is the average time the local service check takes. How can you justify the time taken(so far over 40 days) when it impacts financially on the applicant when they have absolutely no criminal record. How many staff members work in this dept are they all on holiday?
A. The DBS is a national function and deals centrally with the majority of checks and produces all the DBS certificates. Applications normally only come to forces when a hit on that person’s details i.e. information is held about them is shown in that force area.

In GMP the checks are processed on behalf of the DBS by GMP's Occupation Checks Unit and we deal with those as quickly as possible. The unit is funded by the DBS for 44 full time posts to process Enhanced DBS checks, and receives 100,000 applications per year. These must all be processed in strict compliance with Part V of the Police Act 1997 (and amendments), which requires the chief officer to disclose any information which he/she reasonably believes to be relevant and ought to be disclosed. All information must be considered under the nationally agreed Quality Assurance Framework and the Statutory Disclosure Guidance published by the Home Office, taking into account case law and with due regard for Human Rights legislation.

A number of legislative and national procedural changes have been implemented within the last year, which have resulted in applications taking longer than usual to complete.  Regrettably this has led to a national backlog of outstanding Enhanced DBS applications. In addition, the number of applications received by GMP continues to rise above the forecasted volume.  

The national Service Level Agreement states that police forces should maintain an average turnaround time of 12 days or under, and complete 100% of applications within 60 days of receipt. GMP’s current average turnaround time is 11 days. If your application is with GMP and has been for 40 days that would still be within the SLA target of 60 days.

There is a complaint procedure put in place by the DBS and a link to it is here:

Q. Is it possible to prevent juveniles committing crime by giving young students presentations at schools and colleges about how to steer away from crime?
A. We’ve ran particular programmes with the schools in Greater Manchester around issues like gang crime which is an issue for young people. We need to continue working with young people to reduce the number of crimes that involve juveniles.

Q. I’ve heard that the London police will be getting water cannons. Is this something GMP will consider in the future?
A. It’s not something we are considering; the Home Secretary has got to make a decision on whether she is going to allow the use of water cannons. I think it has been made clear that it is only in certain circumstances that water cannons are actually of great use. It is something tha

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