Posted: Thursday 4th July 2013
When I first considered standing for election as your Police and Crime Commissioner in the early part of last year, I read through the literature supplied by the Home Office and one phrase really stuck with me. ‘Bring the voice of the people into policing and bring the community together to tackle crime.’ As each week goes by, I am reminded of this as I read the correspondence that comes into my office, and hear your views at one of my fortnightly Street Surgeries or online chats.
If you are unfortunate to become a victim of crime, Humberside Police on the whole give a good service. The latest survey on public confidence shows over 86% of victims surveyed are satisfied with the service they received from the police, which is something we need the police to maintain and ideally improve over the coming years. The police will be the first to admit that sometimes they don’t get it right, and it’s important when that happens to learn from the experience and make sure things are done better next time. But sometimes people feel their problem has not been resolved and that’s when they are turning to me.
So how is this ‘voice of the people’ role taking shape? In the days before Police and Crime Commissioners there was The Police Authority, a body of seventeen members who held committee meetings every few months, but most people didn’t know they even existed, they weren’t in the public eye and consequently were rarely called on by the public to act on their behalf. How things have changed since November, you now somebody working full time for you and my office now receives hundreds more letters, emails, Facebook messages and Tweets than the Police Authority ever did. Why is that? It’s because people tell me they now feel they have someone to turn to. I’m not a faceless organisation, I’m just Matthew, and you write to me in your droves, you come up to me with your issues at Street Surgeries, you bump into me in the street and say ‘Matthew, have you got a minute?’ It happens so many times every week.
I’m not claiming to have all the answers and I don’t have a magic wand, but where I can help, I will. I can ask the right questions to the right people on your behalf, I can point you in the right direction and I can help you get an answer. Back in 1829 Sir Robert Peel, the founder of modern policing said ‘The Police are the public and the public are the police.’ A few decades ago many people felt that wasn’t the case, but so much good work has been done in recent years to reconnect the police with their communities, and my role is now a part of that. I’m pleased I’ve been able to help quite a number of people so far, and I’ll continue to do so. I work for you and I’m proud to be your voice.