In some communities the Police are not trusted to respond quickly or fairly. In other areas criminals seem powerful and people become afraid to report crime. These issues stop Police and communities working together. Gaining the trust of communities is key. It needs people to get a response to concerns so that they have the confidence to keep reporting. People need to know that they will be protected from criminals if they share information. They need to believe that the Police will deal fairly with all involved. I will work to make sure that you and your families can see the change as your concerns are dealt with.
As PCC I will work with local Councils, the NHS, victim support groups, and Norfolk’s excellent community and voluntary sector. All these agencies can contribute to stopping crime, supporting victims, and preventing re-offending. When they don’t it creates unnecessary work for our Police. At present, for example, Police spend a lot of time dealing with incidents involving people with a mental health crisis. Difficult work and distressing for the individual concerned. We need better support for people living in the community with poor mental health – from Councils funding community activities through to improved specialist care from the NHS.
Many of the inmates in Norfolk’s prisons have mental health issues, autism, speech and language difficulties, and conditions such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Their medical conditions and special needs mean they behave impulsively, have difficulty following rules, or are unable to communicate clearly when arrested or in court. They are the same people who as children end up missing education through being excluded, are placed in pupil referral units, special schools, or do not have their special educational needs met. Many of them also end up being in care due to family breakdown. They lack educational and economic opportunities and are easily exploited by criminals. As PCC I will work with Norfolk County Council and hold them accountable for reducing the number of children who become the vulnerable adults that are over-represented in our prisons. I will work with Councils and voluntary sector to ensure that when people leave prison they receive the support – housing, education, employment and medical support -that helps them avoid re-offending.
Our Labour manifestos for Norfolk County Council and Norwich City Council set out measures that will support my efforts to prevent crime. Keeping children and young people out of the hands of criminals that try to groom and exploit them demands that we bring back our Childrens’ Centres and Youth Services and reduce school exclusions. We need more work with schools to challenge the attitudes that lie behind Domestic Abuse. We need effective services for people who use drugs or are caught up in other forms of substance abuse. People with poor mental health need support not involvement with Police. Stronger communities are the foundation of challenging crime. As a Labour and Co-operative candidate I will support services and solutions that promote co-operation at a community level and involve people in designing, managing, and delivering for their communities.