Stewart Hay is the Conservative candidate for Police and Crime Commissioner in Northumbria.
I am a local man, well-known in Northumberland and Tyne & Wear. I am currently working as a criminal law consultant solicitor across the local courts. My former police service, added to my work as a lawyer (coming to four decades of experience in the local criminal justice system) makes me a strong candidate for the challenging role of Northumbria Police & Crime Commissioner.
I joined Northumbria Police in 1975, retiring at the substantive rank of Detective Inspector (Acting Detective Chief Inspector) in 2007. Immediately prior to retirement I was the operation Detective Inspector for the Northumberland Area Command.
When I was the Detective Inspector in the north of the force I had responsibility for everything from minor crime and disorder to murder, although fortunately that was a rare occurrence. I was aware of the results of police surveys which frequently raised the issue of anti-social behaviour. This is still of concern as it is what everyday people experience as it effects everyday life.
I have well-rooted local family ties, in that my parents and grand-parents lived in this county, and I have always lived in the county. I was educated at Monkseaton Grammar School and Northumbria University.
I can bring vast experience to the role, with a unique viewpoint, having worked in the police service and outside it, seeing what does and does not work.
I would like to dispel some of the myths about the changes which have been brought about through the appointment of Commissioner. The position is not political in the normal sense of the word, in that whoever is elected will not effect the balance of political power in any council or in government. This, combined with the oath of impartiality, should persuade voters to elect the best person for the job, not just the name next to their favourite party.
The role of Commissioner first came into existence, following the dissolving of the old Police Authority, after the first election held in November 2012. The current Labour Commissioner has been a disappointment to me, partly due to her lack of vision and drive.
Northumbria Police has been in the media for not the best of reasons. There has been a public washing of dirty laundry with complaints which could have been dealt with better. The end result has been a distraction from the good work of the force. I acknowledge the need to be transparent. However, this requires a firm approach to discipline issues.
My priorities are:
- Maintaining an effective visible community-based police presence on the streets as this provides the reassurance and deterrent needed in communities.
- A balanced police plan addressing what the public want: usually effective methods of stopping anti-social behaviour as well as an effective investigative ability to detect serious crime.
- Policing with respect, integrity and confidence: not treating people the same but in accordance with their individual needs.
- Multi-agency working and being opened-minded to change as the police are not the answer to every problem. A local authority or housing association often has the option of positive long term improvements which can be more effective than simple enforcement.
- Policing must embrace and be part of all ethnic groups and religions; problems occur when groups or individuals are marginalized.
In addition to local issues, there is a role in national issues, anti-terrorism being the most obvious.
The Commissioner, who should have only a small administrative staff, must allocate funding, ensuring value-for-money policing.
It is my pledge that if elected I will engage with the public and give explanations for what I do. My overall priority will be to maintain an effective visible community based police presence on our streets. With the Chancellor’s announcement of no further cuts to police budgets, and a further £900 million to be put into policing, I would fight for as big a share of that money for our police service here.