PCC Keith Hunter - A Final Statement
My tenure as Police and Crime Commissioner for the Humberside Police area comes to an end today. I can look back over my 5 years in this role and honestly state I carried it out in an apolitical manner, with integrity, and have delivered upon every promise I made in my initial election campaign. In fact, we have gone much further.
The Humberside force was at its lowest ebb in 2016 and is now recognised throughout the country as the most improved force and one of the very best. It is a top 3 finalist in police service of the year this year and when the announcement is made in a few months I hope, with some expectation, that the force will be recognised as the best. That will be part of the legacy I hand over to my successor.
There is more to come though, as I have ensured we built for the future in a sustainable manner. This week a new state of the art ‘smart contact’ system will go live in the force enabling this area to be right at the forefront of police/public communications. This will allow further improvements in call-handling and communication with the public to be delivered over coming months and years, even though the force has one of the very best call handing and 101 services currently. A new building to house a new force control room will be completed this year allowing yet further improvements. A new main computer providing many of the key systems for the force is well in the pipeline and, because of the tight financial planning I have overseen, the additional officers talked of by the government will actually be on the front-line and not in offices in this force. The force has many other developments on track that will continue to provide additional benefits moving forward. Additionally, the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) now has its own identity and role in communities, having moved beyond the old-fashioned, bureaucratic Police Authority model I inherited. Any comparison to the Police Authority is now completely redundant. The OPCC now supports victims and the vulnerable and joins agencies together in partnership approaches, while giving the public a voice in shaping their services, truly the only way we can deliver sustainably safer communities. As an example, a completely new, innovative, anti-fraud campaign designed and developed in-house, is due to be launched imminently, again creating a legacy for my successor to build upon.
I fully understand that not everyone receives the service they would like from the force on every occasion. I also recognise that the public want even more visible policing, although it has increased substantially during my tenure. But I also know our children need to be protected from those who would prey on them and women are not sufficiently protected from abuse and assault, and that people are treated as slaves and trafficked for gain and far too many people die on our roads. The list is almost endless. There are so many competing demands that policing can never provide what everyone wants on every occasion. Managing those expectations is important, as over-promising and under-delivering will erode confidence which is dangerous for the legitimacy of the whole criminal justice system. Being able to plan continuous improvement through that almost impossibly complex network of demands and relationships, involving numerous criminal justice and community safety partners, is the crux of the PCC’s role – not simply ‘being seen’ and being the ‘The Voice of the People’. It is delivery that changes lives for the better not rhetoric. It is a task I put nearly 40 years of experience into and I gave it my all. I hope and believe I added some value.
I have received some very touching messages from colleagues and professionals throughout the country about my contribution, both locally and nationally, and perhaps it is from a distance that the whole picture can be appreciated. When you are let down by an individual’s error or a system failure you will not appreciate that others have received a better service and that the whole is generally functioning well. Continuously reducing the number of individuals with that poor experience is an ongoing requirement. Nothing is perfect in policing and it never will be, but it is much better here than it was with the potential, now built-in, to continue improving for some years. The pressure to do so must be maintained.
I want to thank our Chief Constable for his outstanding leadership and support and pay tribute to the volunteers, Special Constables, staff and officers of Humberside Police who provide for all our safety every day and who, all-to-often, are not appreciated by a vocal minority. They continue to have the confidence and support of the vast majority. I also want to thank all the professionals and volunteers I have worked with during the past 5 years for your dedication and friendship.
Finally, I want to say a heartfelt ‘thank-you’ to every member of staff in the OPCC. They bought into my vision and supported me every step of the way to bring us to where we are now. I walked into an office alone 5 years ago and faced a situation that everyone seemed to think was hopeless. I said things were going to change and they were the first to believe me. Every step taken since has been with their unwavering support and they have seen from the inside the thousands of decisions, day by day, that have been required to bring us to this point.
I hand over to my successor something unrecognisably better than I inherited. Whilst never content, I will accept that. I wish him well and hope he continues the journey of improvement.
Posted on Wednesday 12th May 2021