As PCC candidate, I am reassured by what I have found out about the Sussex Police, so far. The independent police Inspectorate report that Sussex Police are on track to make the required savings in the time specified. However I intend to ensure that any cuts do not affect their front line services. This will not always mean the cheapest option. I want Sussex to have a quality service, and quality does cost a little more in the short term.
However, quality often works out cheaper in the long term, and the country has suffered for too long from politicians who take a short term view, because it is more popular. I am not afraid to be unpopular if it is better for the county in the long term.
My priorities will be to ensure value for money.
1. I shall be looking for evidence based solutions to prevent crime taking place, e.g. Alcohol abuse programmes, illegal drugs, and domestic violence.
2. I will encourage the active targeting of known prolific criminals, to take them off the streets to where they can do no harm the law abiding citizens. If they can be rehabilitated, so much the better. If they cannot be rehabilitated, they may find themselves being locked up for long periods.
3. I will investigate the best use of Neighbourhood Policing Teams, and look to increasing the number of bases, to have one located in each neighbourhood. NPTs provide a reassuring presence of officers who are known by name by those they police. They are ideally placed to gather intelligence about what is going on in the neighbourhood.
4. I shall encourage the expansion of the Special Constabulary and Police volunteers. The Police are citizens in uniform, and if other citizens wish to assist, they should have every encouragement. This programme will also have the effect of increasing integration of the Police with the Public.
5. The most effective way of reducing crime is to prevent that crime taking place. Crime prevention advice should be readily available to any person who asks for it, but in addition the active targeting of prolific criminals has a huge effect on the numbers of crimes being committed.
6. I intend to encourage the deployment of greater numbers of Road Policing officers, who are a highly trained, highly mobile and enthusiastic tactical reserve, who also have a job to do combating the source of the greatest number of fatalities, serious injuries and damage to property. Criminals use the roads. While they do so they are vulnerable to being detected by RPU Officers.
7. Next year’s budget is already substantially written, as it has to be completed in less than three months after taking over, but there is some “wriggle room”, and I shall be inviting applications from community groups for funding for programmes in line with my first priority. I will also ensure that Victim Support is supported in the most appropriate manner.