David Lloyd: Continuing a Conversation with the Public. A manifesto for the Police and Crime Commissioner election in Hertfordshire, 5th May 2016
I approach my second term as Police and Crime Commissioner with an advantage that no-one else in Hertfordshire has: I was elected as Hertfordshire’s first Police and Crime Commissioner in November 2012. I have learned much along the way which will help to inform the way I approach the next four years.
I believe in individual responsibility, freedom of choice and limited government. Although the first duty of the state is to keep its citizens safe, it doesn’t stop there. Keeping people safe is everybody’s business - we all have a role to play and that includes the police, local authorities, public and private sector and each one of us as citizens. It’s my job as PCC to make sure that everyone is playing their part and to make it possible for them so to do.
The police have a key role. To fulfil this I believe they need:-
to be properly resourced and equipped
to be focussed on preventing crime as well as fighting criminals
to be prepared to work with partners
to be open and responsive to the needs of the public
I expect them to deliver this in the most efficient way possible, because I believe it is possible to improve a service without increasing the burden on the taxpayer.
Our public agencies - councils, health, courts, prison and probation, amongst others - have their part to play too and I am determined to bring them closer together and to hold them to account. I will also provide support and encouragement to enable them to engage fully on the key principles of public safety and support for victims of crime.
I believe that, as citizens, we all have a role to play in creating and maintaining a safe community and that I, as Police and Crime Commissioner, have a responsibility to empower people and provide them with the opportunity to do their bit, both by working with the police and by developing a wider volunteering agenda.
I want those responsible for harm to be made more accountable for putting that harm right, either by direct reparation or wider monetary contribution.
MY TOP PRIORITIES
My primary goal is to maintain and build on the significant achievements of my first term. Hertfordshire is a safe county with a top performing police force and a high level of public satisfaction. Making sure it stays that way will be my main focus. So my priorities are to:
Keep Crime Low - ensure Hertfordshire remains one of the safest places in the UK to live and work
Protect Local Policing - every borough and district to continue to have its own strong local policing team and police station. I will continue to focus on protecting frontline policing - local policing is the last place I will ever look for savings
Increase Efficiency - I will continue to reduce costs while insisting on improvements in performance. Investments in new technology and collaboration with neighbouring forces can deliver a better service at lower cost
Keep Tax Low - As in my first term, I will not automatically raise taxes every year (uniquely in the country I have never raised council tax). I will never ask the tax-payers of Hertfordshire to pay a penny more than is required to deliver a quality service;
Focus on Victims - Beacon - the Hertfordshire Victim Care Centre has transformed the support available for victims. I will develop and expand the work of Beacon.
PLEDGES FOR A SECOND TERM
Whilst my main focus will be on maintaining the successes we have in Hertfordshire, there are also new challenges and opportunities which I will seek to address and some specifics which I want to lay down clearly so that you know what to expect in a second term.
MORE FOCUS ON CRIME PREVENTION AND CREATING FEWER VICTIMS
I want to see a police force which is effective at solving crimes and catching criminals and I expect us to maintain our performance as the best in our most similar force areas for doing this. I will also also ensure that we maintain our current high standards in terms of properly recording crimes reported to us - this is vital both for public confidence and for providing proper focus for police work. However, I want to see even more emphasis given to crime prevention for I believe that whilst it is important to ensure an excellent service to victims of crime, it would be far better if we could prevent those crimes taking place in the first place. The first of Sir Robert Peel’s Principles of Law Enforcement was this: “the basic mission for which police exist is to prevent crime and disorder.”
I will ask the Chief Constable to consider how to reward and incentivise young police officers to view success at crime prevention as the key to their career advancement.
SMARTER INVESTMENT IN COMMUNITY SAFETY PROJECTS
As PCC I have spent around 1 million pounds a year supporting community safety projects, mainly working with partners such as local councils, and the county community safety unit. Last year I conducted a review and consultation and concluded that this money could be spent more effectively and produce better results if it was allocated in a more focussed and long term way.
From next year community safety grants will be allocated on targeted basis to projects which can demonstrate that they will deliver the key priorities in my Police and Crime Plan effectively.
YES TO COLLABORATION - NO TO MERGER
Over the last three years, I have supported greater collaboration with neighbouring forces in Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire. The result has been improved service at lower cost. We have met savings targets whilst preserving our local policing model and keeping officers and PCSOs on the frontline. There is more to do in delivering collaboration and further opportunities exist, not least in working with other neighbouring forces, but let me be clear about the final goal:
I will not support a merger of Hertfordshire with other police forces.
Collaboration brings many benefits:
improved efficiency and effectiveness of working more closely together
accountability to the people of Hertfordshire
flexibility to look beyond narrow police-only solutions and work with whoever we need to find local solutions to local problems.
As I have said throughout the last four years - keeping people safe is “Everybody’s Business” and my vision is one where it is achieved by collaboration right across the public and private sectors.
GRASPING THE OPPORTUNITY OF BLUE LIGHT COLLABORATION
One area which has received a lot of attention recently has been that of closer integration of the blue light services - Police, Fire and Ambulance. In my first term as PCC, I was heavily involved in the national discussion around this and I am pleased that the government is currently legislating to give PCCs the leading role in this exciting project. I think there is a lot to be gained in terms of improving the service to the public by working more closely together. In Hertfordshire I have already sought to encourage a closer relationship between police and fire and one of my early decisions was to appoint the county’s chief fire officer as my chief executive. There is now the opportunity to do much more.
I will seek to use the new legislation to bring Hertfordshire’s Police and Fire Services closer together and develop shared leadership and capability at both a strategic and operational level.
BUILDING ON SUCCESS - A BETTER DEAL FOR VICTIMS
One of the major successes of my first term was the creation of Beacon - the Hertfordshire Victim Care Centre which has already provided support to thousands of victims of crime, funded directly from the victim surcharge that offenders pay in court. At last, victims are moving to the centre of the criminal justice system and beginning to get the help and recognition they deserve. It has been a good start but there is much left to do. The launch of Beacon has shown us the benefits of a victim-centred approach but has also highlighted the gaps and opportunities to do better.
I aim to build on the work of Beacon - the Hertfordshire Victim Care Centre, to expand its remit and the services it provides in response to victims’ needs.
We have already made great strides in improving the way in which victims are treated in the immediate aftermath of a crime and during the investigation. Sadly, it is still the case that things often go less well when victims come into contact with courts and the wider criminal justice system. I am determined to see big improvements in this area.
I will conduct a review of the working of the Criminal Justice Board in Hertfordshire with a view to developing it as a focus for working with partners to improve the experience of victims and witnesses in the wider criminal justice system.
BUILDING ON THE OPPORTUNITY OF DEVOLUTION
The government has offered new models of local governance and accountability and many northern metropolitan areas have already concluded “mayoral” deals. I am very interested in the Greater Manchester model and believe that there is much to learn from their experience. I am particularly keen to find new ways of holding the whole criminal justice system (excluding the judiciary) to account and to bring a whole system approach to the Hertfordshire public sector so that the estimated £9bn of public expenditure is spent in a targeted and efficient way. I believe that PCCs have a broader role to play as co-ordinators of local public services.
I will continue to work with Hertfordshire leaders to find an appropriate way of devolving further powers to Hertfordshire, and will look particularly closely at the Greater Manchester devolution model.
SMARTER USE OF OUR PROPERTY
One of the great advantages of working more closely with partners, such as Fire and local councils, is that it will give us the chance to make far more efficient use of our buildings. That will save money and provide a better and more coherent service. I have supported the development of modern public sector hubs in Hertfordshire and it is a policy that I will seek to develop further in a second term. The public sector estate in the county (comprising land and buildings) is huge and it is not yet used well enough to provide best value to the public. I will ensure the police estate plays its part in working to put this right and I also intend to explore whether there are new ways to generate long term income from those assets which can be used to fund policing.
I intend to take more direct control of managing the police property portfolio and will undertake a full audit of what we own to ensure that it meets the long term aspirations I have outlined above.
GREATER TRANSPARENCY - A NEW CULTURE OF OPENNESS AROUND POLICING
Our police force does a magnificent job and is made up of some of the most professional and dedicated people I have ever worked with. However, sometimes things go wrong and, even in Hertfordshire, some of our officers have let the service and the public down. I welcome the fact that we are now holding the most serious misconduct hearings in public - it is important that people can see just how seriously these cases are taken. However, I think there is still too much of a defensive culture in some parts of the police and this can lead to a reluctance to admit mistakes and a consequent erosion of public trust. It is by being open when things have gone wrong that we will retain public confidence and respect. In my first term I won a national award for my public transparency and I want to roll this out to the Hertfordshire Constabulary.
I will develop a culture of greater transparency and openness within our police service and in its relationship with the public. To deliver this, I plan to take strategic control of the management of internal and external communications.
I will sure that the Police Code of Ethics is firmly embedded within the culture of the constabulary and sets the standard for behaviour across the force.
I will review the way the police deal with complaints for the public with a view to creating a system which provides a more rapid, open and less bureaucratic response
I will ask the Chief Constable to develop anew community engagement strategy, based on the best of what we do already - street meets, barn meets - and which seeks to further widen the opportunities for the public to influence and hold to account their local policing teams.
PROVIDING MORE SUPPORT AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR VOLUNTEERS
My Police and Crime Plan is called “Everybody’s Business” and at its heart is a belief that we all have a role to play in keeping Hertfordshire the safe county that it is today. I have sought to provide opportunities for a wide range of citizens to do their bit through schemes such as the Special Constabulary, Police Cadets, Drivesafe and Neighbourhood Watch. These have been very successful but I now want to see them expanded. The government has been consulting on plans to broaden the roles and powers available to volunteers within the police force.
I support these proposals and will seek to make use of them to expand the number and type of opportunities available including new roles such as Special PCSOs.
Our Neighbourhood Watch organisation is one of the strongest in the country and our Online Watchlink sytem (OWL) now has over 100,000 members. It is a great success and deserves continued support.
I will continue to support and maintain Neighbourhood Watch and OWL during a second term and will be looking for new opportunities to expand their remit. I will commission an immediate review of the options for providing additional help.
Our volunteers also support us in providing vital independent scrutiny of the activities of the the police to make sure they meet the standards the public would expect.
I will encourage and develop new public scrutiny roles as well as maintaining those which already serve us well such as the Stop and Search Scrutiny Panel, Independent Custody Visitors, and the Independent Dog Welfare Scheme
LISTENING TO THE PUBLIC AND IMPROVING CUSTOMER SERVICE
I believe it is a fundamental part of the PCC job to listen to the public and to try to deliver the type of policing that they want. That does not mean always following the “wisdom of the crowd” but it does mean being prepared to challenge the official view from time to time and being prepared to take into account what people tell you is important to them, even when it is not the easiest option. It will never be possible to deliver everything that people want and there will always be tough choices to be made but, broadly, I believe it is right that the public should set the priorities in how they are policed. That is why I have been so passionate about saving local policing in Hertfordshire - people have told me loud and clear that it is the style of policing they prefer and it is a top priority for them.
In a second term I will continue to preserve Hertfordshire’s policing model of local teams in every district and borough in the county. I will make sure it remains efficient and effective but I promise that local policing is the last place I will look for any savings.
I also intend to continue to ensure that those issues which the public consistently tell me are of concern to them, such as speeding, fly tipping and antisocial behaviour, are included as significant priorities for policing and for partner organisations.
Surveys have shown that the public of Hertfordshire is rightly pleased with its police force and satisfied with its performance - indeed it has one of the highest satisfaction rates in the country. However, where things go wrong it is often around day-to-day public contact. We don’t always make it as easy for people to interact with our police force as it should be. In common with forces all over the UK, we have been slow to provide the sort of interaction via the Internet which has become the norm in so much of our daily life.
I will prioritise a modernisation of public contact in Hertfordshire based around the principle that the public should be able to interact with the police by the means which they prefer and that will include an expansion of the services offered via the Internet.
It is wrong that the public need to triage their own calls, working out whether the most appropriate method of contact is 999, 101 or some other public sector number.
I want to allow the public to use 101 in Hertfordshire for all their public sector needs, regardless of the agency required.
Of course many people will continue to want to contact the police by traditional means, such as by phone or indeed in person. We must make sure that the opportunity to do so continues to be made fully available. On that front, many people have told me that they regret the closure of front counter services at so many of our police stations. Whilst those facilities were underused, it has become clear to me that the alternative facilities which we put in place to allow direct contact with the police are not properly meeting the expectations of the public.
I will ask the Chief Constable to review the impact of the front enquiry office closure programme in the light of these public concerns and ask him to propose new measures to improve the situation including, if necessary, increasing access to our existing stations.
The government is also proposing to give PCCs a greater role in handling complaints about the police from the public. I welcome this innovation and intend to make use of the opportunities it provides. Too many complaints generate a complex legalistic response which can increase frustrations when a simple acknowledgement of a problem is all that is required.
I will set up a new system to manage complaints which aims to provide a quicker and more appropriate response.
DOMESTIC ABUSE - NO LONGER HIDDEN BUT MORE TO DO
I made tackling domestic abuse a top priority for my first term as PCC. I am pleased to have recorded some notable successes - the main one being a huge increase in the number of victims who have been prepared to come forward to report the crimes against them. We now have a better understanding of the extent of this terrible problem. Domestic abuse cases make up around 10% of all of the crimes dealt with by Hertfordshire Constabulary. As a result I have invested additional resources in enforcement, including the creation of a specialist police unit focussed exclusively on domestic abuse.
We have also begun the process of giving domestic abuse victims the support services they deserve. I commissioned a comprehensive review of the state of services in Hertfordshire which has led to the key agencies coming together to adopt a new joint Hertfordshire-wide domestic abuse strategy.
In a second term, I will continue to make domestic abuse a top priority. I will support the delivery of the new strategy and the joint commissioning of new and improved services for victims.
Like much of our community safety agenda, this action on domestic abuse can only be truly effective when key partners and responsible agencies come together to tackle the problem jointly. For me, this is a fundamental principle and a way of working which I am determined to facilitate wherever possible because it produces the best results for the public. Hertfordshire police have an excellent record of working with partners locally and, whilst there is currently a major focus on collaboration with other police forces, I will make sure that those doors remain firmly open.
I will ensure that partnership working remains a key priority for the police and that new systems and ways of working will only be introduced on the basis that they preserve and enhance that capability. I want to see the police continue to take a leading role in partnerships and information sharing in Hertfordshire.
PROTECTING ELDERLY AND VULNERABLE CITIZENS
There has been a lot of publicity recently about the sort of despicable scams that target the elderly and vulnerable in our society and try to deprive them of their hard-earned savings. Direct mail, email, and door-to-door methods are used to confuse and harass people and con them into handing over their cash. It is a pernicious problem and one that we are doing much to prevent through education programmes - but I think there is more to be done.
I will campaign to encourage those who effectively facilitate these scams by delivering mail or emails to take their share of responsibility for preventing them. If an elderly person is receiving 500 begging letters a week this should raise some alarm bells with those who are delivering them.
In November 2012 many people said that Police and Crime Commissioners would not make a difference to the public. They were wrong. In Hertfordshire, because I have been the Police and Crime Commissioner, we have seen:
Very low crime
Neighbourhood policing saved
A highly efficient and effective police force
Low council tax - the only force area in the land where council tax is lower than 2010
Victims put at the heart of everything we do
I will keep it that way and, in addition, I will continue to listen to what the public tell me are their concerns. That means:
I will work with other constabularies, but not merge with them
I will grasp the opportunity to bring the emergency services closer together
I will continue to search for a better deal which puts the victim at the heart of everything I do - including shaping the criminal justice system around them
I will make better use of the public sector estate in Hertfordshire
I will ensure the Hertfordshire Constabulary communicate better with the public to ensure there is even greater transparency
I will facilitate more opportunities for volunteers
I will continue to tackle the scourge of domestic abuse and campaign to see even greater protection for elderly and vulnerable citizens.
I am pleased with what I have achieved in my first term and ask you to support me so that I can take forward these important priorities into the second term.
Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner and Candidate for Hertfordshire
Promoted by Kevin Drew, on behalf of David Lloyd, both at Davidson House, 168 Queensway, Hemel Hempstead HP2 5FX