My simple aim in standing as candidate for Police & Crime Commissioner is to do everything within my power to make Lancashire the best police force in the country. Given the level of cuts being imposed upon us it will be a difficult task for any newly elected PCC – but it is also an opportunity to make things work better.
To be effective in the new role we need to firstly listen to the views of the resident’s of Lancashire and to then incorporate their views/concerns into the Police & Crime Plan. It is through meeting people across Lancashire that I have identified their concerns and put them as my priorities.
I am the only candidate that is a present member of Lancashire Police Authority (I have been Chair of the Resources Committee for the past four years) and have the knowledge and understanding of the pressures on the budget. We have already managed to find savings of over £38 million in our budget – but still have a gap of over £3 million yet to identify. We have had a moratorium on recruitment for the past 3 years (apart from a one off recruitment of 50 officers last year fill some gaps). It is also worth pointing out that whilst we have identified the cuts they have only been partially implemented. Any suggestion that the reduction in the budget has not led to an increase in crime is misleading – it soon will!
I hope to find further savings through collaboration with other forces, working more effectively with the voluntary, community and faith sector and some innovative schemes such as targeting persistent and prolific offenders. This is because, if done properly, it will make a real difference to the safety of the resident’s in Lancashire and save a significant amount of funding that could be reallocated into other areas of crime reduction. It would be achieved through integrated offender management i.e. working more intensively with persistent offenders, and their families, in a multi-agency partnership approach.
The cost to the tax-payer of dealing with each persistent offender, through the criminal justice system, is tens of thousands of pounds. By turning their lives around it would help to save significant resources – which could be reallocated to other areas of crime reduction including better commissioning of services direct from community groups; and putting more police officers on the frontline to tackle issues such as anti-social behaviour. This would hopefully improve the trust and relationship between the police and communities and therefore have a positive effect on the fear of crime. Again easier said than done but the evidence is that this is a genuine opportunity for improved working.
We have already started some of this work in Lancashire with the Total Family Programme – this would be an extension to this scheme.
If we can make such schemes work then we can ensure that savings are reinvested on the frontline and PCSOs.
Below are my background details – which I believe demonstrate that I am suitable for this new role.
I left school aged 16 to works on Fleetwood docks, as winch builder. I then worked as a milkman. I then took up education as a mature student and gained a BA (Hons) degree in politics and an MA, both from Lancaster University.
I then worked for my union, T&GWU, as a lay tutor before becoming the parliamentary assistant to Joan Humble MP (Blackpool North & Fleetwood) in 1997.
I have been Wyre Councillor since 1994 – and I am presently leader of Wyre Labour Group.
I have been a County Councillor since 1999 – and served as Cabinet Member for Children & Young People and then the Environment.
I have also been a foster carer – for children with special needs.
More significantly for this role I have been a member of Lancashire Police Authority for several years and Chair of their Resources Committee for the past four. I know the difficult challenges that are faced by the police through the cuts in their budget; and I know how the police operate. I already have a good working relationship with the Chief Constable and aim to work in partnership with him, the voluntary sector and other authorities to provide an efficient and effective police service for Lancashire.
I was also Labour’s candidate for Lancaster & Fleetwood in the parliamentary election in 2010.
Labour’s Candidate for Police & Crime Commissioner in Lancashire
My Key Pledges:
- Defend frontline policing – maintain a visible policing presence
- Protect neighbourhood policing – particularly PCSOs
- Ensure swift and effective response to reports of anti-social behaviour
- Prioritise the fight against domestic violence and child sexual exploitation
- Champion the rights of the victim
- Target persistent and prolific offenders