I though this might be useful in helping you decide from the Neighbourhood watch:
Hampshire NW Association contacted the four candidates who are standing for election as our Police & Crime Commissioner and asked them for any message they would like to share with NW members to help them make their mind up before voting.
Three candidates replied and I’m pleased to share their thoughts with you.
Donna Jones has been a Magistrate in Hampshire for sixteen years which has helped her develop a strong background in criminal justice. She is committed to increasing the number of police on our streets in order to reduce crime.
From 2014-2018 she was the first woman to lead a city council in Hampshire. She has a thorough understanding of managing public sector finances; of generating new income and removing wastage from outdated contracts ensuring your taxes are spent wisely.
Donna wants to open new police front desks and increase the visibility of the police, so you don’t just see crime reducing, but you feel crime reducing too. She will do this by removing outdated bureaucracy and working with local councils ensuring the money saved is spent on more police officers.
Donna is focused on stopping young people getting involved in crime. Whilst reducing re-offending is important, preventing it happening in the first place is even more so.
The additional funding the government has committed to Hampshire is an opportunity to build a police force that works for you, from improving the 101 service to giving feedback when you’ve reported a crime. I want to make Hampshire and Isle of Wight the safest place to live.
Donna’s agenda for policing in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight includes:
· Increasing police visibility by introducing mobile police desks in supermarkets and libraries, so residents can report crimes and share information easily
· Putting more police on our streets by using Hampshire’s share of 20,000 extra officers, making you and your family safer
· Campaigning for tougher sentences and taking a zero-tolerance approach to knife crime, helping victims get justice and taking dangerous offenders off our streets
Donna was born in Hampshire. Her professional background is in banking. She is married with two teenage sons.
If I could just be straight to the point, Neighbourhood Watch schemes (NHW) provide a very important sytem for the crime prevention of streets and neighbourhoods in this country. Set up in the 1980’s I believe, I myself became instrumental in setting up many NHW’s in Basingstoke.
Betwen 1991 - 2000 I was a Local community beat officer, for an area within Basingstoke. I was one of 11 beat officers, each of us had our individual areas.
Often I was given a NHW start up pack, when I would attend the organisers house with half the street waiting to greet me, and ask me lots of questions. They were all so pleased to meet me.
I appreciate that NHW became almost privatised, and there became a disconnect with the police to a degree. I have not been involved in NHW since 2000 when I left for promotion, however I feel that the police since austerity have lost a trick when reducing Neighbourhood Policing teams, to a level, where they cannot properly engage with local shop keepers or residents never mind reguarly visiting and engaging in NHW which is so vitally important.
Crime prevention is so important and I totally agree with you that if we the police are not engaging as much as you would expect on a local street level, then they should.
We have put out far a wide a survey and of all those surveyed 69% say that excess speeding is a problem. So just using this example, then good interaction with the local police could resolve this problem very quickly.
Currently we have 64% of all those surveyed saying that 101 is a waste of time, assuming you can get through in a timely manner.
Online reporting is laboriously long and convoluted.
Should I get appointed, it would be a pleasure to work alongside NHW to ensure it gets the necessary support so that it can continue to grow.
Absolutely in favour, and thank you for writing in
I have over 40 years relevant experience, working across much of Hampshire and managing in health, social care, criminal justice services, and the voluntary sector. I have particular expertise in youth justice/youth offending, substance misuse, homelessness, and metal health and since 1987 I have always been involved in cutting edge, multi-agency services with successful outcomes. I am now a part-time Inspector with the Care Quality Commission and I run my own business.
Our local police force has been badly affected by si3.6m per year AND this is getting worse. Cuts to other services have also deeply undermined the effectiveness of the fight against crime. Nationally, morale of our police staff is at an all time low and experienced officers are leaving in record numbers. New investment is welcome, but it is not fully funded, and it does not come close to addressing the deficits acquired over the last 10 years. Accommodating new officers will cause cuts to be made elsewhere.
The Commissioner must represent the people and be an effective and committed advocate for them, both to the Chief Constable and to Central Government. They must understand the drivers of crime and how to disrupt these. We need a ‘what works’, collaborative, and community driven approach to crime and anti-social behaviour. Everybody has a right to feel safe and secure in their own home and community. The police must be responsive to, and embedded in, their local community, and working together to make communities safer. New recruitment provides a real opportunity to make our force more representative of our communities. Our police service must play its part in tackling the climate emergency.
I have the skills, experience, and passion to be an effective Police and Crime Commissioner. I will focus on effective strategies to tackle crime, to keep our people and communities as safe as possible, and to make sure our police force is as accountable, effective, and responsive as it can be. I want to do this in keeping with Labour’s core values of: Equality, fairness, social justice, promotion of strong and resilient communities, protecting vulnerable people, and the protection of the environment. I want to improve public access to the police and to ensure we have a police service which works for all our communities and protects all our people.
Our police must continue to be embedded in its communities and be representative of them. Key relationships and contributions like those from and with Neighborhood Watch and Special Constables are of the highest value in this and I would be very keen to ensure the closest possible relationship in the future.
Please do contact me if you have any questions.
I want to start with a huge thank you to all of the Neighbourhood Watch volunteers who work so hard year in year out. I support the work of NW and I firmly believe that the 4,000 NW schemes across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight make our communities safer.
For the COVID crisis it has been particularly inspiring to have so many volunteer groups, including NW, stepping up to the enormous challenges we have faced.
Starting with a positive, I believe we now have a real opportunity to change things for the better. In recent weeks I have been hearing over and over again that people want to keep our revived community spirit going as we come out of lockdown and to tackle some of the long term challenges we face.
As your Police and Crime Commissioner my priorities for you will be:
· Meet regularly with NW to strengthen the relationship between NW and the police
· Make sure we support the work NW does in practical ways in our communities, including building up the connections to local policing and helping protect all of us from the growing threat of cybercrime,
· Listening and responding to what NW members are seeing. That’s tackling new threats but also working hard to reduce the fear of crime, particularly fears stirred up on social media which may have no basis in reality but have a real impact on how safe people feel.
We have many wider challenges to address.
· In Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, we receive £43million less funding than the national average. We need to fix the formula and build back our local policing.
· I will make sure we do more crime prevention, in particular working with the police, schools and others to steer young people away from crime
· And one issue that has come up again and again as I talk to people across the area is road safety, particularly speeding. That will be a priority for me from day one.
I am standing as the Liberal Democrat candidate after 30 years in business, nearly 20 years of that in central Hampshire. I bring the experience to manage the multi million pound police budget and a large team – and make the change we so urgently need.