Policing relies on consent. People want to know that the police are listening to them, and the police want to be able to focus on community priorities, not ticking boxes. We will replace the existing, invisible and unaccountable police authorities and make the police accountable to a directly-elected individual who will set policing priorities for local communities. They will be responsible for setting the budget and the strategy for local police forces, with the police retaining their operational independence. Giving people democratic control over policing priorities is a huge step forward in the empowerment of local communities, and we will go further by giving people the information they need to challenge their neighbourhood police teams to cut crime. (Thanks to the 2020UK blog for this extract)Members of the public would probably expect to get to know their PCC, who should be anything other than 'invisible'. Indeed, the public would expect to have some say in the shaping of local policing and crime plans. You would expect a PCC to be engaged in dialogue and discussion with his/her electorate, would you not?
So what is happening here in Thames Valley? First, out of curiosity, I put in thames valley police crime commissioner news into a google search - this is what came up:
Not much current stuff there. Compare this to (say) Northamptonshire (Conservative) or West Midlands (Labour):
Not all the reports in these two other searches are positive of course, but at least the PCCs are visible and raising their profile.
Perhaps the clue can found in how much Anthony Stansfeld is getting out and about. I have blogged about this before (here and here) and I have been tracking down, just who he met between coming into office (22/11/12) and the moment he uploaded his draft plan. It took a while to get the information I was seeking, but here is the list I was sent a few days ago. (I have added categories):
People within the police service
Meetings with Head of Force Departments
Meetings with Local Commanders
Local partnership bodies
Oxfordshire CSP (Community Safety Partnership)
Representative from DAAT (Drug and Alcohol Action Team)
Meeting with the Thames Valley Criminal Justice Board
Chairman of the Police and Crime Panel
Met with Thames Valley MPs
Voluntary / third sector bodies
Meeting with the Countryside Local and Business Association
OCVA – Safer Future Communities
Representative from OCVA (Oxfordshire Community and Voluntary Action)
Visit to Ley Community – Yarnton
Members of the public & community representative organisations
Yep. That is it.
Now I am hoping that the PCC will now get out and meet more people, especially community groups and ordinary members of the public (this is a public office, after all). I will be asking the same question in a few months time. I hope I will be able to report a wider set of people.