What is the Role of Police and Crime Commissioners (PCC’s)?
Every 4 years residents can elect their preferred Police and Crime Commissioner candidate. The Police and Crime Commissioner in our area is elected to serve all the people within County Durham and Darlington. They are required to apply their legal duties without fear or favour. Indeed, they take an oath to serve all sections of the community. As such, they are elected to stand up for the public, especially victims of crime and are responsible for overall policing in their area.
However, they aren’t about operational day to day policing. This is the responsiblity of the Chief Constable.
Police and Crime Commissioners engage with their communities to get their views on crime and disorder. From this engagement, they use the findings to create a Police and Crime Plan. This is publicly available and sets out the main priorities and concerns of the community.
This is why I undertook a Crime and Safety Survey at the beginning of my campaign – to identify resident’s views and to give them the opportunity to tell me what areas of crime and disorder they wanted me to address.
Police and Crime Commissioners are responsible for providing an efficient and effective police service for the people County Durham and Darlington.
Under the late Ron Hogg CBE, a Labour PCC, Durham was judged to be one of the best performing Forces in the country. It was rated outstanding – the highest possible rating – for an unprecedented four years in a row.
It’s an important role and Police and Crime Commissioners have 3 principal functions:
First, to engage with the communities in County Durham and Darlington and seek their views on crime and disorder and use this information to prepare a Police and Crime Plan that reflect the needs and concerns of the local people.
Second, to set the Force budget including the Council Tax precept: specifically for the police service; and
Third, to hold the Chief Constable and the police service to account in the widest possible sense on behalf of the people of County Durham and Darlington. They can also appoint, suspend and dismiss the Chief Constable.
That is why it is so important people vote and elect the best person who will represent them as their democratically elected and directly accountable Police and Crime Commissioner.
Labour is proud of its Police and Crime Commissioners record of achievements.
Labour Police and Crime Commissioners and MPs in the region led the campaign to oppose Tory cuts in policing funding and Ron Hogg CBE played a major role in securing increased government funding for the Police – after initially being told that Durham would see its budget cut by £10 million!
Labour’s Police and Crime Commissioners have consistently put the needs of victims at the heart of what they do and Labour’s Ron Hogg CBE was the first Police and Crime Commissioner to include victims in his title. He became known as Durham’s Police, Crime and Victims Commissioner (PCVC).
Labour Police and Crime Commissioners have provided encouragement to reform, innovate and deliver policing more efficiently and effectively. Under a Labour PCC Durham has been responsible for developing some innovative projects that has helped reduce crime, reduce offending and victimisation.
With the support of a Labour Police and Crime Commissioner, Durham was able to pioneer the award-winning Checkpoint programme that successfully reduced reoffending rates.
The scheme was named ‘Best in the World’ in 2019, when it was awarded Goldstein Award for problem solving. Those on the Checkpoint programme were shown to be less likely to reoffend, when compared to those who went down the ‘traditional’ criminal justice routes – such as magistrate court orders or police caution.
This innovative scheme was devised after the Tory’s cut funding by 20% – which led to police numbers being cut by a staggering 21%.
The Force adopted a problem-solving approach to identify what the root causes of reoffending in Durham were. They then devised solutions to reduce the high rates of reoffending.
After undertaking 4 months programme 94% of those offered checkpoint did not reoffend. Since the start of the project, 2,500 offenders have participated in the Checkpoint project with only 5.6% reoffending whilst on the programme.
Community Peer Mentors
Another award winning scheme commissioned by Labour’s Police and Crime Commissioner is Community Peer mentors.
The scheme aims to support vulnerable and isolated people affected by significant life changing events, i.e. being a victim of crime, anti-social behaviour, or neighbour disputes. They tend to make a high number of calls seeking assistance, mainly to police or other services.
In the first 3 years of operation Community Peer Mentors and volunteers successfully reduced staff hours by 47,090, resulting in £2,860,910 estimated savings.
Labour Police and Crime Commissioners also spearheaded the public health approach to tackling crime. By working with local authorities, partner agencies and voluntary sector this cooperative working helps make communities safer. They advocate addressing the causes of problems, identifying the risk factors and seeking a ‘cure’ that will address the problem.
Labours Police and Crime Commissioner’s led international calls by Police Officers to reform Drug Policies and Ron Hogg CBE was well known for his support for a health focused approach to UK drugs policy.
Recently a House of Commons Health and Social Care Committee supported radical changes to the UK’s approach to drugs. Their response was partly modelled on a scheme piloted in County Durham, after hearing evidence that UK drugs policy was failing.
Labour’s Ron Hogg also launched the very popular pioneering project called Mini Police in 2016 with the help of Craig Johnson, who was a serving police officer at the time.
Like many innovative schemes originating in Durham under a Labour Police and Crime Commissioner, the mini police scheme has gone from strength to strength and has been adopted by many Police Forces in England and Wales with thousands of Mini Police officers cascading learning to over 85,000 school aged children.
Mini Police is an interactive volunteering opportunity for 9-11 year olds and follows a 3 step approach Education, Community and Reward.
The objective of the scheme is to introduce these children to a positive experience of policing and to get them involved in the local community
In 2018 it was awarded National Crimebeat award and now forms part of the Volunteer Police Cadets Programme.
County Durham’s Vice Lord Lieutenant Alasdair MacConachie claimed such innovations were one reason when Durham Police was rated as the best force in the country.
As your democratically elected and directly accountable Labour and Cooperative Police and Crime Commissioner – I will continue to build on successes of the late Ron Hogg CBE.
My priorities will be preventing crime; protecting individuals and the community; and pursuing those responsible for crime and disorder.
You can count on me to work tirelessly with the Police, partners and the community and voluntary sectors to make County Durham and Darlington Safer, Stronger and more resilient to crime and anti-social behaviour.