Lorne Green is the Police and Crime Commissioner for Norfolk.
I’ll be honest, I didn’t really know what to expect when I presented myself as a candidate in May’s Police and Crime Commissioner election in Norfolk. Sure, I had sufficient self-belief to imagine I had something to bring to the role; not just relevant experience after 30 years in diplomatic service, and 13 in private industry; more a conviction that I could offer a higher standard of public service, and a deeper commitment to engaging full-time with the community I sought to serve.
I loved campaigning – the doorstepping, the canvassing; I loved hearing from people in market squares about their concerns for policing and crime.
Then, when at the election count on May 6th the first round votes started coming in from the various county districts, with the vote trend emerging and the independent incumbent’s support sinking to fourth place, I was overtaken by an emerging sense of humility and gratitude. Humility at the possibility for service to my community opening up before me, and gratitude to the electorate, to my indefatigable campaign team, the many, selfless volunteer campaign workers, and those who contributed so generously to the campaign war chest. So when I found myself in the run-off distribution of second preference votes, and it became clear we had carried the day by a great majority, I was flushed with a mix of euphoria and release that our campaign had borne fruit.
So now I have been Norfolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner for four months. I have discovered that the opportunity for satisfaction that comes from community engagement during campaigning remains open to me. That is the part of the job I love the most – the opportunity to engage with all sorts and conditions of Norfolk folk; be they the unsung heroes who volunteer in a host of community support groups for victims of crime and the vulnerable, for those who are in our prisons and ex-offenders; police volunteers whether civilian or Special Constables.
I have lunched with prisoners, played scrabble with the elderly, rejoiced with the Islamic community at Eid, and joined Jews at prayer. I’ve had the humbling experience of meeting victims of domestic abuse and child sexual exploitation. I have spent time with youth parliamentarians and children excluded from school.
Then there are the police, with their enormous commitment to preventing and fighting crime in face of serious resource constraints. I have gone on night patrol with them on a Saturday night in Norwich, and in Great Yarmouth and in King’s Lynn. Perhaps that’s been the greatest eye-opener for me – how very good is our Norfolk police force.
My consultations across the county preparatory to producing a Police and Crime Plan produced thousands of survey results on the public’s expectations of their police. Now I begin drafting a Police and Crime Plan for the county that will balance public expectations with reasonable possibilities for the police.
It’s a privileged place to be.