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Saturday, 10 November 2012

ARTICLE East Anglian Daily Times Published 9/11/2012


The election next Thursday – 15th November – brings a big change to how Suffolk’s police service is run. I am asking for your support because I have the skills to make the new job of Police and Crime Commissioner work for all of our communities.

I have worked for organisations large and small, including Tesco, Harrods and Mothercare, and in the public sector too. I was Chief Executive of a charity working with vulnerable victims of crime. I have also worked within our prisons and with ex-offenders. Alone amongst the candidates I have worked at top management level for Suffolk Police.

I have a reputation as an achiever and independent thinker, working at a strategic level, managing large scale budgets, making far reaching and difficult decisions based on strong analysis of information.  All are vital skills and capabilities essential to the role of Commissioner in today’s tough times.

As well as indispensible business skills, I have unique first hand experience of our Police service. I also have direct insight into the lives, impacts and journeys of victims and witnesses through our criminal justice system. I understand too the priceless contribution of the voluntary and community sector to the quality of our lives.

I am hugely supportive of the Police. They do an incredible job, sometimes under the most difficult of circumstances. I know this because I have worked with them and been out on patrol. Watching them deal with intense provocation with skill and humour cannot fail to command respect.

We all know the Police are affected by cuts to public services.   Hard choices are being made; services reduced, merged, or, in some cases, abolished.  Weighing those decisions, gauging their impact and tough questioning is a crucial part of the Commissioners job and so is ensuring the public have a full chance to  ‘have their say’.

The Commissioner needs to lead a full and open debate on ranking priorities, how tight resources are best used and how we can jointly fight to win the best deal for Suffolk. Without a willingness to question, challenge and evaluate police effectiveness, the role will be a waste of money – an expensive rubber-stamp.
 
 My vision is based on many months spent listening to local people in towns and villages right across the county and many years working within criminal justice. You have told me you want a safer county and a Police service that is open, accountable, forward looking and takes onboard the views of those it serves – you, the people of Suffolk.

·         I will defend visible local policing in rural and urban areas. I support maintaining and, if possible, increasing front line operational policing roles including the Special Constabulary and PCSO’s.

·         I will also defend less visible policing – especially those units that protect our young people and children from internet crime and sexual abuse.  

·         I want to put victims first – including swift and effective responses to anti-social behaviour. I also believe recent cuts to compensation for those whose lives are permanently damaged by violent crime are disgraceful.

·         Restorative justice works but it needs developing to succeed more widely.

·         In too many instances privatisation has failed - from the debacle of G4s at the Olympics to non-stop rises in fuel costs. That’s why I’m squarely opposed to handing police functions to private firms to run.  Suffolk Constabulary is already taking back previously ‘outsourced’ work where expectations or promised savings have not been delivered. Improved efficiency and effectiveness is achievable, without outsourcing. 

·         I will work with any and all organisations, communities and individuals who are committed to cut crime, reduce reoffending and promote rehabilitation. Public services under pressure need to cooperate more than ever. The closure of acute hospital beds for those with severe mental illness for example can simply shift a health problem onto the police, courts and prisons.

Restoring a clear link between the public and their Police can bring real benefits.  People have told me they want their Police service to be more accountable to them. Commissioners bring with them increased flexibility to manage policing activities in response to the needs and priorities of local communities.

The Commissioner job is an enormous challenge that will put whoever is elected on a steep learning curve. It’s a new and radical departure without a blueprint to follow. I am no stranger to the hard work or the learning needed to meet that challenge. I believe my background will serve me well. My solemn undertaking to the people of Suffolk is to give my total commitment to the role.

I look forward to working with you all to help make Suffolk a safer place to live, work and visit for everyone.

 

9 comments:

  1. You say will listen to the views of ordinary Suffolk residents. What about the 16 wrongfully arrested innocent Suffolk people who have written to Chief Constable Ash requesting to have their DNA profiles and Records of arrest erased by the Chief Constable after a European Human Rights Courts ruled that he and other UK police forces should do? Are you going to tell Simon Ash to comply with the DNA retention provisions of the Protection of Freedoms Act, or will you fall for his 'waiting for national guidelines ' act? Will you ask him, like I did, how come his chief constable colleague in Cambridge managed to erase thousands of illegally held profiles, while according to Big Brother watch he only managed four erasures in the same period?

    Or will you tow the Labour party line and treat everyone arrested (often under the flimsiest of pretexts and not charged) as potential rapists not yet caught like Yvette Cooper likes to proclaim from the Labour front benches?

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  2. I was pleased with the sensible EHCR decision protecting innocent people's rights, and understood that it has been implemented. I commit to reviewing how that decision is being applied in Suffolk if elected.

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  3. Re: Police Crime and Commissioner Elections.

    I have read through your blog and I have noticed that you are very keen to work with the public to make sure the streets are safer for our community and more importantly, our children. I am seeking your opinions, knowledge and your views on the uses of cannabis. I am a medicinal cannabis user. I use cannabis to treat flashbacks of my childhood of when I was sexually abused. I am currently seeking therapy as the cannabis doesn't make the flashbacks go away but serves as a type of volume control to where my flashbacks are toned down enough for me to raise my children and be able to work. I have ventured into other prescription medication routes which have failed as they had only made my symptom's worse.

    I am writing to you to obtain a full understanding of your thoughts and awareness of the current 'war on drugs’ and was curious to whether you think the present drugs policy is working? For the most part I was interested in whether you do or do not support cannabis law reform for all uses, just medical use or not at all? And if you don't, how would you plan to protect the youth of your area from drug related crime? I too want my children safe from drug dealers but am still forced to purchase my medicine from one. I strongly disagree with medicinal users being prosecuted for the cultivation of cannabis and wondered if you consider our police actions proportionate when dealing with the vast majority of non-problematic cannabis users? In this country approximately £6 billion was spent in the black market on cannabis in the UK last year, split between 60 million people that works out at around £100 for each and every one of us and could potentially give us an economy boost if it were regulated. With the £500 million that was spent last year on the criminal justice system for cannabis alone in the UK, works out as £8.33 for each and every one of us, surely it would make more sense to use that money for going after more serious crimes such as knife crime and anti-social alcohol abuse in which 70% of emergency services are used up each weekend in some parts of the UK with alcohol abusers wasting their budget. A possible tweak in the way alcohol is policed could be made possible if those funds were made available. And finally how will you guide your area with respect to drug law enforcement, will it be a priority for you or not?

    Thank you for taking the time to read this. Your expedient response will ensure the maximum amount of time for your views to reach our demographic, which is nationwide.

    Kind regards,

    Kate Stenberg
    CLEAR Media Team
    CLEAR – Cannabis Law Reform
    kate.stenberg.ks@gmail.com
    clear-media@clear-uk.org
    www.clear-uk.org
    www.facebook.com/ClearUK

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  4. Hi there
    It has been so very busy. I am very sorry but I do not have time to give this the detailed response it needs. I would be pleased to meet up with you to discuss if elected.

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  5. Hello Jane
    I had a letter published in the Beccles and Bungay Journal. They printed the part where I was critical of the process but hoped to encourage people to vote as the only sensible reaction. Unfortunately they didn't print the bit where I quoted and praised your blog. Nevertheless, people I have spoken to are voting for you, so good luck tomorrow.
    David Osborne

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  6. It's time to abolish these unnecessary and unpopular posts. We don't need or want Police and Crime Commissioners.

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  7. David - many thanks for writing to encourage people to vote. I got a real sense that the only story people wanted was low voter turnout.. the papers were v anxious about impartiality I understand. Thanks for your support!

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