Lorne Green is the Conservative candidate for Police and Crime Commissioner for Norfolk.
There is no such thing as a victimless crime. It is vital that Police and Crime Commissioners (PCC) always keep in mind the victims of crime and not just the criminals. But PCCs and police forces cannot do this alone. We all have an important role to play. That is why my plan to reduce crime in Norfolk is built around the strengths of important agencies in our communities.
In Norfolk, agencies such as Victim Support are already providing fantastic services for victims and I pledge to fully support their work if elected in May. However, in the immediate aftermath of a crime, there can still be a lack of support for victims. That is why I would like to explore extending the neighbourhood and street watch concept to provide more local support for victims in the aftermath of a crime.
In addition to support, victims need to know that crimes committed against them will not go unpunished. If elected PCC I will make sure Norfolk police have the resources they need to prevent crime and to bring those individuals responsible for breaking the law to justice. I believe strongly in the concept of restorative justice to give victims the opportunity to communicate with their offender, provide them with the chance to explain how the crime affected them, ask any questions and, just possibly, receive an explanation and apology. It is important that offenders are held to account for what they have done. Restorative justice helps them take responsibility and rebuild their lives.
Community organisations are full of unsung heroes who play a vital part in our justice system, from supporting witnesses and victims of crime, to providing rehabilitative programmes to ensure that we break the cycle of reoffending. Throughout my campaign to become PCC for Norfolk I have had the honour of meeting many of them. Hearing about the work they do, and the challenges they face has helped me to appreciate the essential service they provide and the importance of collaboration among them and with the police.
If elected Norfolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner I plan to promote a more collaborative approach to tackling crime and reducing reoffending. I believe a joined-up approach offers a better service to the community as well as providing opportunities for efficiency savings. The Norfolk Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) and the Norfolk Youth Offending Team (YOT) Partnership are both good examples of where a joined-up approach is already working in the local area to help make our communities safer. My commitment is to drive forward more joined up services in our county among the police, other emergency services, criminal justice system, and government, voluntary and charitable agencies.
The important work of YOT and MASH is concentrated on safeguarding and helping vulnerable people. Safeguarding the vulnerable among us is an absolute duty of society, and it is essential in preventing people from becoming victims or offenders. At the same time I want to dig deeper to cast a light on the fundamental causes of vulnerability and promote collaborative efforts to address them – causes which might include poor parenting skills, bad cultural influences, peer group pressures, poor school performance, lack of aspiration, sense of hopelessness, or even sheer boredom. I want to prevent individuals from needing safeguarding and thereby reduce demand on community services, including the police and the criminal justice system.
I propose to launch a countywide forum to address the underlying triggers to criminality and explore collaborative approaches to fostering positive life choices and saving people from becoming susceptible to offending behaviours. I would seek to engage the police, criminal justice system, governmental, charitable and voluntary organisations, educators and faith leaders in this process.
A caring community makes every effort to look after its vulnerable and its victims of crime. The Police and Crime Commissioner is well placed to drive forward more joined up services to make Norfolk a model caring community. The time is now to bring new ideas, a wider vision, a greater commitment, and more energy to realise this goal and in the process, reduce crime in our county.