Alison Hernandez is the Conservative candidate for Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon and Cornwall.
After the doom and gloom of the past year, where Chiefs and Commissioners have been proposing cutting frontline policing, not responding to burglaries, and spreading fear amongst the public, it was great to hear the Chancellor announce that the police budget will not be cut for the next four years.
I was getting so frustrated by the negative narrative that one of my pledges has become ‘Positive Leadership’. The public and the Police seemed to be more aware of what was being cut than what the annual budget is actually spent on, what the police are achieving, and what is being improved for the better.
The pace of change required within the Police is still considerable to transform it into a modern, dynamic and sustainable service. So, no cuts means no complacency in my view.
My pledge for ‘Positive Leadership’ has now had a kick-start with the hearty news of no cuts, but that is only half the story. Now we need to find the ideas for improvement and manage them at a pace that will make them work for the longer term, involving Officers, Support Staff and key partners.
We need to promote the work that the Police do on a day to day basis and make everyone proud of the service they belong to and/or receive.
‘Transparency and Accountability’ is another pledge of mine and a key factor in driving forward positive change. This is not to expose the Police and shame them for their mistakes, but to promote their successful efforts and learn from those that have failed. A culture of learning must be supported and not feared.
It was interesting to see CoPaCC (an organisation that monitors police governance by comparing Police and Crime Commissioners) publish the PCCs that meet their transparency quality mark. This is an opportunity to really help PCCs and the public to gain a feeling of how well they are, or are not, doing compared to their peers. I’m really delighted to see CoPaCC will be expanding these quality marks to include whistleblowing, the victim and witness experience, and volunteering.
I recently spoke with Bernard Rix, the CEO of this organisation, and I can really see how working together is going to help us all to improve the ability of the public to hold us all to account.
PCCs still have work to do in demonstrating that they can identify, lead, and deliver innovations that provide significant public benefit. I’m aiming to show just that, if I am elected in May next year.