MetBPA member shadows Durham Chief Constable

On attending my first NBPA NEC (National Executive Council) meeting at Durham HQ last January we were welcomed by the Chief Constable, Mike Barton, who introduced the person sitting next to him as someone who was shadowing him for the day. ‘Anyone can shadow me.’ he said and I remember thinking ‘hmm!’

As he spoke I appreciated his no-nonsense down-to-earth delivery and, as much as I was interested in the work as described in Durham, I also started to believe in his approachability.  He talked about the building of the new environmentally sustainable headquarters at while managing to save costs, and the drive to make the working environment as transparent as appropriate, but he also described the adjustments he had made after consultations with various departments. 

L-R Intelligence Analyst CW, Chief Constable Mike Barton and Executive PA Jennifer Allison (check out the ‘police box’ lift!)

As our NEC meeting went to a break I approached Mr Barton, ‘Can I shadow you?’ I was fully prepared that he’d say no. His answer? ‘Of course you can. Speak to my staff officer.’ He nodded towards his nearby office. As simple as that!

And so, four months later (my shadowing request was one of several), I was finally making my way back to Durham. A lot can happen in four months and, within that time, Chief Constable Barton announced that he would retire on June 7th 2019. Naturally the news generated more attention and demands on Mike Barton’s time and I was given the option to meet with other staff members and so I asked to meet with research and analysis staff expressing my interest in partnership working to prevent violence.  With that in mind I first met Lead Analyst Fiona McGinn who had just recently completed a peer review for the MPS Local Intelligence Team at the CN BCU pilot. Durham Police Service have been rated outstanding for both efficiency and effectiveness over the past four years and consequently receive several enquiries about their methodology and practices. I’d say that part of that is due to each department having a very clear understanding of their aims and objectives. I was particularly interested in the analysis being conducted around OCGs who use the proceeds of their crimes to buy property and the recommendations around the planning applications made to local councils. I also spoke to analysts and researchers about the work they do around county lines and their IPC (intervene to Protect a Child) programme. CW