Although they’ve not garnered as much press covered as they deserve, next Thursday (5th May) will see important elections for Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) taking place across the country – including here in Derbyshire.
During Labour time in government there was a proud record of investing in neighbourhood policing, with neighbourhood Policing teams been established across the country bringing Police and communities together to tackle issues of concern.
That decision, along with others on policing that Labour took during it time in government, helped to bring the crime rate down by 42 per cent between 1997 and 2010, and it’s vital for our local communities that we continue this work by making sure the police have the resources they need to fight crime and protect communities.
However since coming into office, the Tories have attacked the police and undermined the fight against crime, taking Police Officers and Police Community Support Officers (PCSO’s) off our streets, with over 18,000 Police Officers and 5,000 PCSOs having been lost across the country since 2010 because of the cuts with Derbyshire Police having lost 253 police officers and 33 PCSOs in the same period.
At the same time, the crime rate is increasing, with the latest quarterly figures published in April showing that total recorded crime in the Derbyshire Police force area has increased by 2% in the 12 months to December, with 16% increases in public order offences, 235 increase in the possession of weapons offences, and violence against the person increasing by 23%.
Whilst Labour did not support the creation of Police and Crime Commissioners, because we thought the money needed would be better spent on front-line and community policing, Alan Charles as Derbyshire’s first police and crime commissioner has worked hard over the last four years making the position work to protect neighbourhoods and give greater support to victims, working hard to understand that the wide range of issues across Derbyshire including regular visits to Glossopdale to support community initiatives and organisations in tackling crime issues.
As Alan’s deputy, Labour’s candidate in next week’s election Hardyal Dhindsa has been an integral part of the commissioner’s team, bringing his 30 years’ experience in the probation service, to work on services for victims, developing and improving issues around mental health, domestic violence and sexual abuse, meaning he has the experience to take over as commissioner standing up for you and our communities to keep them safe.
We oppose the Tory cuts which would hit front-line officers, and Labour councillors and Police and Crime Commissioners will work with Police and local people to prioritise neighbourhood policing, keep bobbies on the beat and reduce crime.
The Police and Crime Commissioner elections on 5th May won’t get the same press attention as June’s EU vote, or local elections despite the importance of the role that will decide the future of policing in our communities.
Next Thursday’s Police and Crime Commissioner elections, are an opportunity to send a message to the Tories opposing their cuts to the police and the risk they pose to neighbourhood policing, please vote for Labour and our candidate Hardyal Dhinsda, standing up not standing by for our local communities.