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Press release

Local Impact – Staffordshire

Police Now officers tackling crime and anti-social behaviour across Staffordshire

Friday 25 June 2021

Nearly 40,000 fewer anti-social behaviour incidents nationally in areas with Police Now officers – equivalent to 14% fall

Substantial decrease in criminal damage & arson, burglary and theft amongst other crimes

Police Now attracts and develops the most diverse group of officers in policing

Police Now officers are playing a vital role in tackling crime and anti-social behaviour in Staffordshire.

Communities nationwide where Police Now officers have been posted for the last 22-months have seen 38,772 fewer incidents of anti-social behaviour compared to the same time period from October 2016 – equivalent to a 14 per cent drop.

Officers on Police Now’s National Graduate Leadership Programme have been working alongside their colleagues within their local neighbourhood teams.

As well as the drop in anti-social behaviour, communities have also seen 14,301 fewer incidents of criminal damage & arson – a fall of 13 per cent. There were 12,460 fewer incidents of burglary – a fall of 16 per cent – and 31,732 fewer incidents of theft, equivalent to a 14 per cent fall.

PC Natalie Millward of Staffordshire Police spotted an increase in 999 calls in Normacot. She realised that most of them were non-emergency calls coming from one person. She met the person and realised she was on the autism spectrum. She realised that usual communication techniques were not working. She conducted a survey with colleagues and realised that further training in the area would benefit the force. She designed a ‘pocket guide’ for frontline officers with information and guidance on working with people on the autism spectrum. The force has changed how it connects with other organisations that offer support on autism and it is looking to develop a more specific training package. Officers will now be assigned to support on cases involving people with autism

PC Millward said: “I’ve found that it’s important to be yourself, be confident and engage with the community to understand how they want to work with you as their local officer.”

Police Now’s mission is to transform communities by recruiting, developing and inspiring diverse leaders in policing.

Officers on Police Now’s programmes develop skills in leadership and problem-solving. They share a commitment to public service, fighting crime and inspiring social change alongside their colleagues.

Police Now has recruited a total of 1,830 officers across 33 forces in the UK, including Staffordshire Police, with 30 police constables and nine detective constables joining the force via this route.

Police Now consistently recruits more officers who are women or from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds compared to any other entry route into policing. Police Now recruitment data shows that of those starting on Police Now’s National Graduate Leadership Programme in Staffordshire in 2020, nearly one in five (18 per cent) identified as coming from a black, Asian and minority ethnic background and more than two thirds (71 per cent) identified as women.

“We’re incredibly proud of the positive impact our participants continue to have within their local communities, and their commitment to driving positive change with their colleagues so that everyone in our society, including the most vulnerable, have a chance to thrive”.

David Spencer

Co-founder of Police Now and former Detective Chief Inspector

Neighbourhood police officer | Natalie Millward

Q&A with Police Constable Natalie Millward

Neighbourhood Police Officer

National Graduate Leadership Programme Participant

Staffordshire Police

Police Now is trying to increase diversity in the force. Do you think having a force that better reflects the community it serves helps to bring down crimes like anti-social behaviour and why?

Yes, communication will be better in terms of being relatable and have an understanding of the needs for that community.

What was the most important lesson you took from your training with Police Now that has enabled you to deal with crime / support your community?

Be yourself, be confident and engage with the community to understand how they want to work with you as their local officer.

Have you implemented any new initiatives to reduce ASB or burglary crimes, or build confidence in policing in your community?

I was recently researching a surprising increase in 999 calls within my area (Normacot), as part of my work as a neighbourhood police officer in Staffordshire. I realised that the vast majority of these calls were coming from one individual, who appeared to calling repeatedly for non-emergency situations. 

After meeting the individual and doing some background research, I realised she was on the autism spectrum. I also realised that some of our usual communicative techniques were not working with her.

The case prompted me to think about police awareness of autism and the way we communicate with members of the public who are on the autism spectrum. I decided to conduct a survey with colleagues regarding their training and awareness of people with autism and realised that further training in the area could be really beneficial to the force. I conducted research on how to best to do this, looking at the College of Policing problem-solving techniques as well as talking with universities and researching custody processes for individuals with specific needs.  

I then liaised with relevant partner agencies to create a trigger plan and ensure that in future the most effective intervention was actioned. We also created a working group to meet monthly and designed a ‘pocket guide’ for frontline officers with information and guidance on working with people on the autism spectrum.  

What has been the moment that you have been most proud of professionally in the last 22 months?

Since the project we as a force are working on some long-term changes to better support the community and adapt to individuals’ needs. For example, we are amending our ‘vulnerability toolkit’ to display a section dedicated solely to autism. The vulnerability toolkit is a system we use which helps us link up with third party organisations to offer specific support to those who may need it. 

We have also established a focus group to help implement force-wide training and are investigating ways we can create and roll-out a more high-specification training package, with officers assigned specifically to support on cases involving autistic members of the public.  

I have already had a member of the public contact me directly in order to support her and help her to work with the police in both positive and negative aspects when she has dealt with the police. It is something that we are able to support the public with and moving forward can introduce new ways of working between ourselves and the public.

Data references

Using data taken from Police Recorded Crime Statistics, the independently peer-reviewed figures compare the 22-month period from October 2016 to July 2018 before any Police Now officers had joined their local communities to the period when they joined from October 2018 to July 2020.

The data presented here is subject to limitations with Police Recorded Crime Statistics and methodology. More details on this are available at the bottom of the following Police Now webpage.


For any enquiries please get in touch with us. 


Head of Media and Communications


Media and Communications Assistant Manager

Dorset Police

Police Now | Dorset Police
Scott Chilton - Dorset Police Chief Constable

Scott Chilton

Chief Constable

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