I’ll just state from the outset… I am opposed to the creation of Police and Crime Commissioners. As with the case of City Mayors, they are an attempt to resolve some real issues with a solution which is no solution at all, and unlike City Mayors the PCCs are being foisted upon us without people even being offered a choice (more bloody ‘localism’?).
Here in the West Midlands we are fortunate to have a Labour candidate for Police and Crime Commissioner who doesn’t want to be a US-style Robocop, thinks the position itself is unnecessary, and has committeed himself to trying to do the best he can under the circumstances where we are forced to elect them. Bob Jones is a Black Country Councillor (yes, believe it or not, there are people in this region who do not think everything is really just Greater Birmingham) and he has a longstanding commitment to policing across the whole of our region.
Here, from the excellent Top of the Cops I reproduce Bob Jones’ candidate statement which includes a promise if elected to establish community-led Local Policing boards which will establish local policing priorities and be engaged in local police commander appointments.
Member West Midlands Police Authority 1986-present; Chair 1995-2000;
Currently Chair of Finance Committee
• National Chair Association of Police Authorities 2005-2009, serving the maximum term of 4 years (elected with cross party and independent support)
• Founder member The National Policing Board and Police Counter Terrorism Board, chairing the National Policing Board Committee with responsibility for Neighbourhood Policing.
• Member Stephen Lawrence Steering Group
• Member National Criminal Justice Board
• Previously Chair Wolverhampton Community Safety Partnership and Cabinet Member for Community Safety
I opposed the Tory led Government’s legislation to Americanise British policing as in the wrong hands the traditions of British policing could be seriously undermined. The British police service has a proud tradition of being part of the Community and applying the rule of law impartially to all parts of our society.
A single individual risks both the appearance and possible reality that our Police services are accountable to particular vested interests rather than the wider community.
I am committed to protecting British policing’s proud traditions and seeking to build on them rather than undermine them.
Labour has a strong record of investing in our police service and partner agencies resulting in record reductions in crime.
Two areas I was particularly proud to play a key role in was the roll out of Neighbourhood Policing and the implementation of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 which brought together all partners in the fight to reduce crime. A neighbourhood free from crime and fear of crime is an essential basis for any regeneration of that community both economically and socially.
To continuing to build on Labour’s achievements I will
• introduce community-led Local Policing boards which will establish local policing priorities and be engaged in local police commander appointments
• retain the PCSOs that have proved invaluable eyes and ears for professional officers
• seek to bring police contact points into council and other community buildings
• use the platform of Commissioner to highlight the appalling financial settlement the Tory-led Government has given the West Midlands Police, where our cuts are 3 times as high per capita as leafy low crime areas such as Surrey
• live and work in the West Midlands. Apart from a short period at University I have always lived in the West Midlands conurbation. I believe I am fully in touch with the needs of our community and believe I am well placed to serve them.