I care very deeply about our police service and I have great admiration for the dedicated men and women employed within the service and huge respect for all that they do. I have worked with the police throughout my career, both as a solicitor and as a barrister. I have seen what they have to contend with at first hand and a lot of it is not very pretty, much of it is excruciatingly difficult, sometimes dangerous, always challenging.
I have seen the effects first hand in my profession of alcohol and drug abuse and domestic violence upon families, and I know how important the roles of the other agencies are in tackling the causes of crime.
I am deeply concerned to protect all the residents of Cumbria from crime and violence but particularly the most vulnerable in our society; children, women, the elderly and vulnerable adults. In order to achieve this, I will aim to bring together key members of the force in order to re- focus and restate the objectives of the police to deliver what they do best: Keeping the peace and crime prevention, apprehending criminals and bringing them to justice. These are the critical key services that represent the cornerstone of my manifesto; all my focus as PCC would be to achieve this aim.
It is well known that the police service in Cumbria is already one of the best in the country. We can only improve on this, and I believe we can, in spite of the Government cutbacks.
I have set out below my vision of the role I would have as Cumbria’s PCC:
I will listen carefully to the people of Cumbria to obtain a clear view as to your priorities for their police service and I will continue to listen to you during the whole of my appointment as PCC.
To this end, I intend to set up bi -monthly surgeries around the County so that you can come to me with your issues and problems in order that I can carry your concerns back to the police and to the Government.
I will listen carefully to the police at all levels and in particular the Chief Constable, his deputies and Chief Executive as to what is achievable within the current budget that has been set already;
I will ensure that where possible a police presence is seen regularly in every town and village.
I will ensure sufficient resources are targeted at the increasing rural crime areas.
I will be examining the current budget with an aim to ensure that we keep our police service within affordable limits
I will aim to keep any increase in the Council Tax precept as low as possible;
I will ensure that the police continue to work closely with statutory and voluntary and other agencies whose aim it is to address and tackle the causes of criminal behaviour and reoffending; this includes support for restorative justice schemes which have been shown to achieve positive results.
I will seek to encourage, support and promote those Agencies who can show their work delivers positive results in keeping our society safe.
In the light of closure of police sub stations, I will explore the possibility of counter services at alternative local venues, such as post offices, local shops and even pubs.
I will ensure that the police resources target those areas where and when they are most needed most. I will ensure that police officers actually attend crime scenes and investigate crimes such as burglary instead of handing out crime investigation numbers, and offer good effective victim support.
I will encourage a policy of rapid response in cases of domestic violence and child abuse. I will do all that is possible to keep women and children and the most vulnerable in our communities safe.
In the light of what occurred in Ambleside, I will ensure that no police building is sold without there having been a ‘public interest ‘ test to ensure the public interest element is taken into account
I will hold the Police Constable to account for the service he provides.
I will formulate the Police Plan to reflect our aims and objectives as set out above.
It is my belief and experience that the ‘overall objectives’ of any successful service should at all times be borne in mind. In my view, the role of the police is to keep the public safe and not only that, to ensure the pubic actually feel safe. It is equally as important and valid to apprehend those who do wrong and to deal with them appropriately in the circumstances of each case.
The police work hand in hand with many agencies to tackle crime and to address the problems that lead to crimes being committed and to criminals reoffending. However, the time and effort of our Police Officers is a precious commodity and should be targeted intelligently and appropriately. This is vital to ensure that critical services are not lost due to cutbacks which have already been very painful for the police to implement.
This should not be an election about Party Politics, but it is about who you, the public, believe can deliver what you want and what you deserve. As a practicing Barrister working in the field of Domestic Violence and Child Abuse, and as a former police station solicitor undertaking criminal work on a very regular basis, I believe that I am the most qualified candidate in the Cumbria wide PCC election. Altogether, including my training years, I have worked and studied in the field of law for over 30 years.
In addition to this, as a District Councillor and as Vice Chair of the Audit and Accounts Committee, I have learned the skills required in overseeing a large and complex organisation and budget
I am careful and objective but always willing to take brave decisions even in the face of adversity and opposition. I always strive to do what I believe is right, fair and just. I will fight for the police right services which best meets the needs in each area in Cumbria
I believe that we can and must deliver the best service but also offer the best value for money…after all, it is you, the pubic who are paying for the police, and that’s why the Government believes that you need a voice in how it is run. We need to continue to offer a Police Service that Cumbria can continue to be justly proud of. We can do that together if I am elected on the 15th November.