Tackling crime starts with respect for the law. It depends not just on our Police but on all of us. It needs us to have the confidence to challenge crime. To do this we need to believe that the law applies fairly and equally to everyone. Inequalities must be reduced so that all our communities feel protected rather being criminalised as minorities or for being disadvantaged. With trust in our Police as part of a fair system of justice we can create a whole community response to crime. We can reduce the social and personal cost of crime and make sure we all have the freedom to enjoy life.
I believe that we all have a right to live in communities where criminals cannot operate freely. Communities where we are safe wherever we live, work, or play. We have a right to public spaces we can use without fear. We deserve to be safe in our homes and at work. The environment needs protection and we need safe, sustainable transport.
Simply increasing Police numbers or giving them the latest high-tech equipment is not enough. They need the information we have about crime in our communities. When we report crime it needs to be dealt with. We need a justice system that hears cases quickly, satisfies victims while providing a fair trial, and includes ways of changing criminals’ behaviour in sentencing the guilty. We need the County Council, District Councils, the NHS, housing providers and the voluntary sector to focus on working with us and our Police to keep our County safe for everyone except the criminals.
Above all we need to do more than picking up the pieces once crime has occurred. Criminals need to be caught and prevented from offending again. Victims should be supported. Even better if we could avoid the distress that victims feel, the wasted lives of criminals. We should be working much harder to prevent crime. That is not just CCTV and better locks. It is tackling the reasons people turn to crime, changing criminals’ behaviour. It is living in communities where crime is not acceptable and Police respond to our concerns. These will be my priorities as your Police & Crime Commissioner.