The most important role of the Police is to deter crime and catch criminals. The role of public reassurance is critically important as effective policing can only be carried out with the consent of those being policed.
The main role of the Police and Crime Commissioner is to be the people’s voice and hold the Chief Constable to account. I am good at listening, learning and only then bringing my own views to bear. It is important to let professionals run the force and to hold them to account as necessary.
The PCC will set the priorities and budget for the force. I have been prominent in these areas for the last seven years as the Conservative lead on Hampshire Police Authority and as the only Conservative holding elected office on the Authority as Vice Chairman of the Finance Committee. I am the Authority member responsible for guiding and overseeing the saving of £55m in the force budget for corporate support. This work is critical as it will allow diminished resources to be targeted at putting officers on the front line, not behind desks. I have experience in financial control both in my business and in running a local authority, specifically in removing deficits while preserving quality services. Doing more for less.
Public consultation and engagement is critical. I have an excellent track record of community consultation. It is important to be seen to listen and engage. It is equally important to then be able to take often difficult decisions without fear or favour. Something with which I am very well acquainted.
There are differences in the needs of rural areas compared to cities; special requirements of an island community. These need to be recognised with a team that embraces rural, urban and islanders with dedicated individuals. We have as a Party ensured that people have data about crime in their area. I aim to ensure that tackling it is a high priority for the Chief Constable.
In a relatively low crime area like ours most people are worried more about anti-social behaviour, criminal damage and burglary than about murder and rape. These are the things that blight lives and they are things that I have a successful track record in tackling through my work with community safety partnerships. The PCC will hold the community safety budget and must ensure that partnerships are enabled to get on with the job of working with the police and other agencies to give community reassurance. This however must also recognise the special problems of criminal underworlds in our two biggest cities of Portsmouth and Southampton. I am also clear on the special needs of policing our rural areas and of the Isle of Wight.
In summary I am the only candidate who has already been doing a significant part of the job of a PCC for seven years. I hope I will now be given the opportunity, having served a 7 year apprenticeship, to do it for real for the benefit of the communities of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. People have said they will vote for the person with the greatest knowledge of the local area and the crime affecting it. That is me.