Rivals go head to head in battle for Police and Crime Commissioner role
Residents go to the polls on November 15 to elect the first ever Police and Crime Commissioner for Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent. They will take charge of the force budget and priorities and challenge the Chief Constable’s performance. Labour candidate Joy Garner and Conservative Matthew Ellis explain what they will bring to the role
FOR me, the role of Police and Crime Commissioner is about new ideas, fresh thinking and bringing in the public's view to make policing in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent more visible, responsive and accountable.
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It's about freeing up officers from burdensome bureaucracy and processes to do what they were trained to do: catch criminals, cut crime and make Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent safer.
Above all, in these difficult times, it's about achieving more policing with fewer resources to ensure crime keeps falling. Is that possible? Yes, I'm certain it is.
My background in building a business from scratch, a strong public service ethos and experience of responsibility for a £300 million budget at Staffordshire County Council is important to being an effective PCC.
And with many different organisations playing a part in cutting crime and supporting victims, my experience developing successful coalitions across sensitive public services is also invaluable to ensuring a joined-up criminal justice system that's more effective and better value.
There are those who want to use this election to oppose shrinking budgets but I'm focused on Staffordshire's future and making the most of the money available by dealing effectively with issues that matter to local people.
My priorities include:
Using technology to let police officers be police officers, not stuck behind desks;
Moving resources from detecting crime to preventing it;
Treating victims of crime as people, not just a crime number;
Tougher policing of prolific offenders if they can't or won't reform;
Cracking down on irresponsible licensees, anti-social drinking and behaviour;
Fast and transparent justice with greater use of restorative measures.
I would be a PCC for all of Staffordshire with the experience and determination to ensure we have effective and more visible policing across all parts of our diverse county.
THE public in Staffordshire want a police force which is based in the community and accountable to them.
As a local councillor and Staffordshire Police Authority member I know the importance of community safety.
Neighbourhood policing and police community support officers have been an outstanding success.
It's appalling that the Tory-led Government are putting this at risk as they cut the number of police officers by 20 per cent.
We've already lost 213 officers in Staffordshire and by 2015 a total of 395 will have gone – placing the force in danger of being left with the lowest number of officers since it was established in 1968.
No combination of efficiency savings or changes to working practices can replace that number of bobbies which have been taken off our streets.
Statistics from the police authority show that performance of the force is now declining as officers have been lost.
The way in which security for the London Olympics was put in jeopardy by the failed contract with security firm G4S proved that privatisation carries risks.
I will ensure that policing in Staffordshire remains publicly-run and accountable to the community, unlike the Tories who are happy to hand services to private companies whose only motive is profit.
If I become Staffordshire's Police and Crime Commissioner my priorities will include:
Fighting the Tory-led Government's 20 per cent cut to Staffordshire's Police budget;
Putting victims of crime before criminals and ensuring that victims get the support they need;
Taking seriously the blight of domestic violence;
Working to steer young people away from crime and anti-social behaviour;
Tackling alcohol misuse and its effect on communities;
Taking a hard line against anti-social behaviour by establishing a task force to ensure that victims get a response within 24 hours;
Making sure Staffordshire residents get value for money in their police service.