It was not to be…

The reason for this delayed post is solely because of the weak battery in the iPhone I inherited from my Dad.  If it hadn’t turned off (or if I had checked it sooner) then this regrettable post would have happened sooner.  The delay in posting is certainly not because I am racked with uncontrollable remorse.

However, it disappoints me to type that I have been unsuccessful in my attempt to be the Conservative Party’s PCC candidate.  Three other candidates will be participating in the open primaries that I blogged about recently.  I will let them (or the party) formally announce who has been successful but I wish them all luck and they have my support; I know how difficult it has been to get to this stage and I have made plenty of guesses about how hard it will be in the run up to November 15 (and beyond).

I am disappointed not to have got beyond this stage.  I was looking forward to the challenge (and excitement) of the primaries.  And I know I could have taken on the role of PCC with passion, understanding and enthusiasm.  However, this is not to be and I look forward to receiving more detailed feedback next week about why the party didn’t consider me suitable.

On the plus side I can throw myself into my role with my new employer that means I will be able to continue my very close working relationship with policing.  I can also avoid a 25% pay cut!

I have a number of people I want to thank because without their support I would not have been able to perform at the level that I have done.  Their confidence in me and acknowledgement about the commitment required of a PCC (and the impact on every aspect of my/our lives) has been incredibly beneficial.  So thanks go to:

  • My friends who going back as far as November last year have offered me support and advice (and have never once said that this was the wrong thing for me to do).  Amongst this group I include Mat, Caroline, Andrew, Leanne, Lily, Simon, Sarah, Judith, James, Mary, Bernard, Dave and Will (who will always be Repo to me).  Sorry to those who I have not explicitly named.
  • Juliet, my very old and now very new colleague who I know will be hugely disappointed for me whilst also being massively relieved.
  • My fabulous wife Annette who has been my greatest advocate, challenger, friend and supporter.  If it weren’t for her backing I would never have considered doing this and would never have got this far.

A final good luck to all the PCC candidates who are left in the race in both Hertfordshire and across England and Wales.  The job of PCC is about improving our already great police service, please make me proud as you do this.

The next hurdle approaches

I have been invited to attend an interview panel this Saturday (16 June) as part of the ongoing selection process to be the Conservative Party’s candidate for PCC. The outcome of the interview stage will identify the candidates who will represent themselves at the Open Primaries that I blogged about recently.

The interview panel consists of three representatives from the county’s Conservative Party associations, the nine county Conservative MPs and the Hertfordshire Area Management officers.

I have 20 minutes to demonstrate why I am an outstanding candidate. To be honest I was hoping for a longer interview session in order to impress upon such a large group of interviewers (many of whom won’t have previously met me) why I will make an excellent PCC. However, I’ll make the very best of the opportunity I have been given.

I will post an update after the interview summarising my self assessment.

The primaries have been announced

Earlier this evening I learnt that the dates of the Hertfordshire Police & Crime Commissioner primaries have been set.

This is very exciting indeed.  If selected to attend the primaries* I will be able to listen directly to the people of the county and start a conversation with them about what they want from their police service and criminal justice partners.

The great thing about the primaries is that they are open to all registered voters in Hertfordshire.  I assume that if you live locally and read this blog you have an interest in the future Commissioner and I would urge you to register to attend one of the sessions (I have inserted the relevant details below).

As I have made it clear previously I have no prior political experience so in theory I should be daunted by the prospect of primaries.  In truth, although even at this stage I have a sense of excited anticipation, this will be an entirely new experience for all of the potential candidates so we all start from a level playing field.  I look forward to the opportunity to demonstrate my passion for policing and my thoughts about how I can support the Constabulary and other organisations in delivering an excellent service.  It’s also not in my nature to be nervous!

The schedule is:

Tuesday 3rd July 2012, Broxbourne Primary
Wolsey Hall, Windmill Lane, Cheshunt, Hertfordshire, EN8 9AA. Time: 7:00 pm.
Pre-registration closes Monday 2nd July at 5pm. | Register

Wednesday 4th July 2012, Hemel Hempstead Primary
Adeyfield School, Longlands, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, HP2 4DE. Time: 7:00 pm.
Pre-registration closes Tuesday 3rd July at 5pm. | Register

Monday 9th July 2012, North East Herts Primary
Icknield Centre, Icknield Way, Letchworth, Hertfordshire, SG6 1EF. Time: 7:00 pm.
Pre-registration closes Sunday 8th July at 5pm. | Register

Thursday 12th July 2012, Hertford & Stortford Primary
County Hall, Pegs Lane, Hertford SG13 8DQ. Time: 7:00 pm.
Pre-registration closes Wednesday 11th July at 5pm. | Register

If you are able to make one of these events please let me know you’ve been following my updates.  I look forward to seeing you there.

* You may remember from earlier posts that, if the plan for selecting potential candidates in Hertfordshire has not changed, then up to six nominees will be selected for interview by local MPs and party members.  I am yet to hear if I am one of the six selected so I have two hurdles to clear before attending the primaries.

I want crime to rise

Yes, you read that right.  I want crime to increase during my period of office.

Now I have your attention let me explain myself.  There are certain types of crime that are under reported.  I want to see these types of crime reported more often.

Let me be clear.  I absolutely want acquisitive and volume crime to decrease.  Working with the Constabulary and partners across the county I will do everything I can to cut crimes such as burglary, shoplifting, vehicle crime, assault and robbery; the types of crime that are both precursors to more serious offences and evidence of other harmful behaviour (for individuals and communities) such as drug abuse.  Crimes such as those listed above are reduced through a proactive police presence and a thorough and successful investigation; activities that make criminal activity highly unattractive because criminals are very likely to be caught and prosecuted.  Reducing these types of crime reduces harm and improves the quality of life of Hertfordshire’s residents.

However I want to see the reports of crimes such as domestic violence, sexual assault and repeated, harassing antisocial behaviour increase.  It is these types of crime that go unreported because the victim has lost faith that the criminal justice system will support and protect them.  As we have seen in rare instances, when such crimes go unreported, or are not investigated fully, the end results can be tragic.

I believe that the role of the Police & Crime Commissioner, the police and partners is to protect the vulnerable.

  • I want victims of these types of crime to have confidence in the system.
  • I want them to be assured that by reporting these types of offences they will are listened to and supported by the police and other agencies.
  • I want victims to know that their bravery in reporting these crimes will lead to a caring, concerned and professional response from all organisations across the criminal justice system.
  • I want victims of these crimes to be assured that their report is fully investigated and that the right action is taken.
  • If the victim does not want to proceed with a prosecution I want them to know that their evidence will be protected and used carefully to develop intelligence that will be used to prevent further crimes.

I believe that with the necessary professional approach and support by all members of the criminal justice system, more victims will have the confidence to come forward and report the crimes that are blighting their lives.  It is the crimes that affect the minority but that can have such a devastating and lasting impact where I want to see crime reports increasing.  If this is achieved the people of Hertfordshire will have the highest confidence that their police force and partners can protect the vulnerable and deliver an outstanding level of service.

My intentions

I want to describe what I will do if I elected.  By stating my initial intentions I will make it clear what I propose to do once I am in office.   I will update these intentions over the course of the election and formalise them (and stand by them) if I elected.

Intention 1 – I will work with the County’s people and communities to understand their concerns and support their needs.

I will hold “surgeries” at least once a week across the county so that I can meet with the people and communities affected by crime and disorder.  To make sure that I get the greatest opportunity to meet as many people as possible, as well as holding some meetings during “normal” working hours, I will also schedule sessions for evenings and weekends.

Intention 2 – I will make sure that those affected by crime, both victims and communities, receive clear and timely information from the force.

I will show that justice is effectively delivered as this is essential to reassure people and will show that Hertfordshire Constabulary delivers successful policing.  I will ensure that people are made aware of successful convictions and the associated sentences dispensed, the value of criminal assets seized, the disruption to organised crime groups and understand the results of restorative justice.

Intention 3 – I will champion the needs of those impacted by crime and disorder and ensure that the police and its partners deliver a satisfactory outcome.

It is essential that victims and communities are satisfied with the outcomes delivered by the police, Crown Prosecution Service, the courts and other criminal justice partners.  I will meet with those affected by crime and disorder to make sure that they are dealt with fairly, that through schemes such as restorative justice they have a direct role in the offender’s punishment and rehabilitation and that they are satisfied that the very best has been done to deal with their crime or complaint in the most appropriate way.  I will work with the police to put in place preventative actions to deal with community concerns so that they do not develop into significant issues.

Intention 4 – I will make sure that Hertfordshire Constabulary has a leading role in the county’s crime reduction Partnerships but, more importantly, that all partners contribute fairly.

I will drive forward collaborative partnership working with local government bodies and voluntary organisations across Hertfordshire.  Crime and disorder is influenced by many complex factors that span aspects of society beyond policing (such as education, health care, housing and employment).  It is essential that organisations work together to reduce crime, prevent offenders from reoffending, bring together their customers’ views to identify problems and implement solutions.  This role should not necessarily fall exclusively on the police (as I have experienced previously when working with other forces) and as Commissioner I will be in a position to define other partners responsibilities and fund them accordingly.

Intention 5 – I will ensure that Hertfordshire’s investment in regional and national commitments delivers direct improvements to the county

Hertfordshire Constabulary, like all police forces across England and Wales must give a commitment to regional and national crime prevention and investigation. It is entirely necessary for Hertfordshire’s police to have an input into preventing and solving regional and national problems such as drug and gang crime as such problems directly impact the people of Hertfordshire.  However, this investment of time and resource must reduce crime in Hertfordshire and improve the lives of those who live in the county.  I will ensure that the positive results achieved are clearly linked to the input provided by the force.

Candidate statement published by TopOfTheCops.com

TopOfTheCops.com have published my candidate statement.  Many thanks Sam.

The PCC timeline

Simply from talking to my immediate friends and family I do not believe that the timeline for moving from police authorities to Police & Crime Commissioners is clearly understood.  Therefore, even if it merely helps my Mum understand what is happening, I have set out the timeline for potential Conservative candidates as I understand it.

Source for national elements – Home Office