Thursday, November 15, 2012
Candidates standing for the Police and Crime Commissioner post for Devon and Cornwall answer your questions about priorities for police at a meeting in Honiton.
Priorities for Honiton and East Devon and how the Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon would cover such a vast area were addressed by candidates standing for election.
Candidates Tony Hogg (Conservative), Brian Blake (Lib Dem), William Morris (Independent), Nicky Williams (Labour), Brian Greenslade (Independent) and John Smith (Independent) faced questions from residents at the meeting organised by Honiton Senior Voice yesterday (Wednesday).
John Smith (Independent) said: “The priorities for Honiton and East Devon are the same as the priorities for the whole area to keep crime down and make sure you feel safe to walk the streets in your communities and make sure rural areas and rural crime receives more attention than it has in the past.”
He said he would look to working with third sector partners such as Age Concern to feedback the views of groups as well as holding weekly meetings in Devon and Cornwall.
Tony Hogg (Conservative) said: “We have got to involve the public and really put our minds to it by using conventional methods - using emails, Facebook, and Twitter. Use ways that don’t cost too much money and establish networks with the Citizens Advice Bureau and Community Safety Partnership.”
He suggested re-energising some of the police stations to committ the Police and Crime Commissioner team and on-the-road communication days, meeting people on the streets and an ideas bank.
Mr Hogg outlined anti-social behaviour, violent crime and rural issues as areas for concern for Honiton and East Devon. He said he would also walk the beat with officers once a month.
Brian Blake (Lib Dem) said: “This area is a very rural area and rural policing by its nature has a small amount of police officers and they should be visible. If they are driving a car they should stop and leave the car and chat to people before getting back in. Police officers need to get back to that.”
He said there is need for a training budget of special police constables, which he would like to see doubled, and police officers out on the streets.
Ways in which he would engage with the public would be to hold meetings and liase with groups who could organise similar meetings.
Nicky Williams (Labour) said: “I don’t think we can have a one size fits all policing in Devon and Cornwall.
She told the meeting that she wanted the local community and police to find “local solutions” to problems such as anti-social behaviour.
She added: “I think we have to use existing sturctures such as the town and parish councils.”
Miss Williams expressed the importance of recompensing volunteers and voluntary sector organisations to “work with them and support them” to ensure a viable police force.
She also wanted to see victims of anti-social behaviour getting support within 24hours or sooner if necessary.
Brian Greenslade (Independent) said: “The priorities are much the same priorities as elsewhere - the viability of policing and more of it and crime in Devon down.”
He added: “Getting out and about is critical to me.”.
Mr Greenslade said he would talk to individuals on the streets and would travel the area by train as much as possible.
William Morris (Independent): “I would consult with working groups and include the public not just experts.”
He added: “The chief constable would cover day to day polcing. The commissioner can set targets and do set priorities - they can say there should be more vehicle checks in the early mornings.”
Mr Morris also listed wldlife crime, drugs, substance abuse, especially by children, and anti-social behaviour as concerns and would like to see a community payback scheme introudced to keep children out of the criminal justice system.
Farm crimes such as rustling and iron thefts were also areas of concern for the area. He also said he would like to see changes to the way resources are set and allocated for areas in Devon.
Fellow candidates standing - Tam MacPherson (Independent), Ivan Jordan (Independent), Robert Smith (UKIP) and Graham Calderwood (Independent) - were unable to attend the meeting.
Robert Smith (UKIP) – He is a chartered child and educational psychologist has has been in private practice for more than 20 years. He provides advice to courts regarding child protection and family issues.
He says he wants the police to be tough on crime and wants to reconnect the police with the people and their communities.
Tam Macpherson (Independent)- He aims to reduce crime and cut reoffending, protect victims and witnesses and introduce greater transparency and accountability to improve the quality of the police service.
Ivan Jordan (Independent) - He is an architect and farmer. He lists tackling hate crime as a priority area, as well as focusing on strong community policing, protecting the force from privitisation and smarter budgeting.
Graham Calderwood (Independent) - A criminal lawyer for 40 years, he is now a part-time advocate and duty solicitor.
He says he would look to using officers more efficiently and look at how procedures can be improved.