This is a guest post, written by Labour candidate for Essex Police & Crime Commissioner, Chris Vince. As such, the views and opinions expressed may differ radically from your blogger’s own. Some of them may even make sense…
Now many of you may be sitting at home thinking about abstaining in the PCC Elections on Thursday. You don’t agree with the role of Police and Crime Commissioner and anyway what effect is it going to have on you anyway? My message to you is that whatever you think of the role please come out and vote for the right person for the job. That’s me by the way. Whether you agree with PCCs they exist and have a great deal of power and if you don’t vote there is a danger that the wrong person will be elected.
Unlike the other candidates who are standing I am pledging to work with the Police Federation and the Officers and Staff themselves, to ensure that they feel valued, are able to do their jobs as effectively as possible and actually have the time to train to tackle issues like domestic violence, knife crime and victim support.
If any of the other candidates tell you they are going to find a pot of money for Policing in Essex then they’re very much mistaken. Now of course I oppose those cuts but I recognise as PCC I will have to be pragmatic, yes I’ll lobby for more money, but in the meantime have to work with what I’ve got. In the next few years the budget is going to be stretched and whoever, is going to be elected will have to make some tough decisions. I’m not afraid of making tough decisions but will do so in an informed and fair way using the knowledge I will gain from actually listening to those who have experience in their field.
I’ll work hard to protect frontline Policing in spite of budget restraints and again a lot of that involves working with the Officers, Staff and their representatives. Police in Essex have over 5000 rest days owed to them from the last year alone, that coupled with working more overtime means Officers are burning out and being forced to take time off sick. How can we possibly tackle this issue if we don’t work with the Officers and the Police Federation?
I also bring with me to the role of PCC my experience in Education. I see Preventative Policing as a large part of the job of a modern Police Force and a large part of that involves education. As PCC I’ll be going into schools, working with local charities, community groups and business, to work with them to prevent crime actually happening, on a regular basis. I won’t shy away from this responsibility.
Finally let me address the people who say that the role of PCC shouldn’t be Political. If you look over what I have written you’ll see I haven’t used the words ‘Labour’ or ‘Tory’ once. If I was being political I might say that a vote for Labour is a vote against the cuts the Tories are making to Policing in Essex, over 600 less Officers since 2010, however, if I wasn’t I would simply say vote Vince because I am the best candidate for the job.
In the last few months I have canvassed across Essex, from Harwich, Rowhedge, Harlow and Colchester to Canvey Island, Benfleet, Southend, Basildon and many more besides. As your PCC I’ll continue to as hard as I can across our county and do what I can to keep crime down and the people of Essex safe.
Labour PCC Candidate for Essex