Alison Hernandez is the Conservative candidate for Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon and Cornwall
Policing is heading to the polls. People across the country will soon have their say on how their local police force is run – and the stakes could not be higher.
That is why I am working around the clock so everyone understands how important it is they get out on May 5 and put their cross in the box.
Turnout at the last election was a disappointing 15 per cent and yet within a year of the Police and Crime Commissioners being in post a ComRes poll said 62 per cent of people were aware of the role. That is a huge leap and demonstrates the impact this position can have at a local level.
Elected PCCs are the clear democratic link between the public and the police. They hire and fire chief constables, control budgets running into hundreds of millions of pounds and set local priorities for policing in their area. Put more simply, they are responsible for making sure hard earned taxpayers’ money is used to deliver safer streets and lower crime.
We’re doing a good job so far – Devon and Cornwall Police has the highest public confidence rating in the country and is the third lowest crime area in England and Wales – but we can’t sit back. We must continue to make sure our officers have the resources they need to tackle changing crime threats head-on.
Cybercrime is an increasingly prevalent threat. The growth of the internet has transformed our lives – but it also opens our communities up to new risks from criminals and hackers. Aside from this the police are also tackling the very real threat of terrorism and protecting the most vulnerable.
As a Conservative candidate I will be best placed to negotiate the fairest funding deal for our area so we can tackle these challenges. I will work with the Government to deliver safer communities. At the Spending Review in November, Conservative PCCs proved they are better placed to lobby the Government to protect police funding and invest in firearms and counter-terrorism policing.
However, it is not just through working with the Government that I will cut crime and create safer communities. It is also through competent and responsible management, effective use of resources, and working with other agencies to get the best out of the police for local people.
My experience as a crime reduction co-ordinator and, more recently, training the police and criminal justice agencies in leadership and project management, have provided me with the skills I need to do this. My work as a councillor helped Plymouth 2020 become one of the fastest improving Local Strategic Partnerships in the country – all amidst a backdrop of £2.1m spending reductions.
Now my sights are on the police and delivering the safer streets, lower crime and protection for the vulnerable that hard-working taxpayers deserve in Devon and Cornwall. If elected I will put policing back at the heart of our communities both online and in our streets.