[08 AUG 00]
WARWICKSHIRE CONSTABULARY NEWS
Cop Will Put More Bobbies on the Beat
public expects to see more uniformed officers on the streets of Warwickshire - and the
new chief constable pledges that is what they will get.
John Burbeck started his new job
yesterday in charge of the force. He will spend the
first three weeks touring the county and visiting each of the 13 policing sectors.
He is keen to make himself, and his
officers, visible to the public and wants
to see them out of the offices and in public view.
Mr Burbeck, aged, 51, was number
two at neighboring West Mercia and got the job
to succeed Andrew Timpson, the short-lived chief who had to go
when it was
found he was unfit for work.
He has pledged to carry on
the review to free up resources to get people
out on the streets.
But Mr Burbeck came out with his
own view on financing - something former chiefs
Andrew Timpson and Peter Joslin would never have said.
They were quick to shout that
Warwickshire was underfunded, and called for more
Mr Burbeckšs view is markedly
different. He sees his job as spending the money
wisely, leaving the politicians to raise the budget for him:
is the police authorityšs role to do the lobbying.
can give a good level of service with the money we have, and we
the best of those resources."
His own priorities include
telling the public what a good job they are doing,
rather than bleating about lack of money to get on with it:
need to get in touch with the public. Perhaps one problem has
been that we
have not been that good at telling the public about the good
work we have been
doing - such as the number of criminals we have been
As for talk of merger, either
with all or part of the West Midlands, or parts
of the county hived off with Leicestershire or Northants, Mr
that is looking increasing unlikely.
New Government arrangements mean
the bodies for managing the police, the county
and the Crown Prosecution Service all have co-terminus
boundaries - so
that a Warwickshire police force will be matched by a CPS and
covering exactly the same area.
As those new bodies are
established, or are underway, it is less likely that boundaries of any of
them will be changed in the near future.
And all forces are working
together more and more. The new top cop said:
is a lot of collaboration between the police forces - more
than there was
two years ago.
work together more with training and recruitment and sharing
"The reasons for amalgamation, if
they have not disappeared, have certainly been watered down in
last two years."
So why did he want the job of top
cop of virtually the smallest force in the country, that is as
likely to hit the headlines for the bizarre behaviour as his predecessor as
the claims of sexual discrimination by leading female officers. He said:
"I wanted to be the police
constable of a county like Warwickshire.
have worked in
counties that adjoin Warwickshire and I like a community based
on a mix of
towns and rural villages."
His priorities are to 'increase
public confidence' and 'provide a better service'.
He praised Operation Impact that
started to eat into the rising tide of burglaries
in the county - one of the few areas where Warwickshire crime levels rose in the
recent annual crime figures.
Another project underway - with a
potential for a review - is the scheme to create
a super police station in both the north and the south for most police
And that would leave 'police shops'
where public could talk
to officers, report crimes and take documents in the other towns.
It would mean centralised police
stations in Nuneaton and Leamington, leading
to fears over the future of stations like Coleshill, Stratford, Rugby, Kenilworth,
Warwick and Bedworth.
But there was the
previous pledge there
would always be a 'police presence' if the main station was taken
Mr Burbeck is keen to explore the
idea of one-stop-shops where councils and police
save money and share one building. This has been outlined for Kenilworth for some
Mr Burbeck said it was was too
early, on this first day, to go into detail about
whether this would carry on, but he gave a hint. He said:
Andrew Timpson there was a rationalization, and that work that
HAD to be
"I see no reason to tie up
resources in police stations where no one is coming in or where
officers would be better off on the beat.
He will not be hanging on to
un-manned police stations at the expense of putting
officers on the street. And
how will he get more people out on the streets? He said:
there is a cheaper way of doing it than using a police officer
and it would
free up individuals then it is something I am interested in
That could include: civilianisation
of posts, sharing resources with other forces,
or contracting out work.
And his first day saw him out
talking to his staff - made up of about 930 officers
and 250 civilian staff. He
am looking to get out and meet people and hear what they have to
have been out meeting community beat officers today and they are
what is gong on. I want to listen to peoplešs ideas.
want to take decisions, based on what is gong on, rather than
listen to hearsay."
Mr Burbeck was awarded the Queen's
Police Medal in the 1999 New Year's honours.
His is married and has four
children. He lives in a farmhouse on the Warwickshire/Worcestershire
The man who oversaw the
investigation into the killing of French student Celine
Figard in Worcestershire is a keen sailor, and has been skipper of
the West Mercia Police
off-shore a sailing boat.
He joined the Metropolitan Police
in 1972 and served for 15 years, and then moved
to Thames Valley. and in 1994 on to West Mercia.
In his time there, he reviewed the
way the force dealt with house burglaries -
leading to a 50 per cent reduction and changed the way in which
from the public were managed.
This skills will come in handy as
Warwickshire had to take urgent action to tackle
the rising number of house break-ins and many feel action is
that way it handles 999 and general inquiry calls.
The number of call answered quickly
fell significantly after the introduction
of the central control room at Leek Wootton.