Mike Pannett I believe that Policing and Politics should be kept separate. Policing should serve and protect all people, regardless of their political stance, and the PCC should represent those people and challenge the policing of the County from an independent position unencumbered by party politics.
In policing we often hear about the ‘Multi-Agency’ approach, where various agencies such as the Local Authority, Health and Social Care work together, but we have yet to see this implemented in a true working model. Our most vulnerable in society often become ‘part of the system’ when an early intervention and identification could have prevented it. Competing demands and budgets within partner agencies mean that the police often become the agency of last resort, plugging the gaps when people are in crisis and in desperate need of help. We want to establish an in-depth multi-agency solution to ensure that people who need help get the right help at the right time and from the right people.
The impact of the Comprehensive Spending Review has seen the Police becoming more of a reactive service, with targets and measurements all being made in response to reported crime rather than prevention. We want a force that by virtue of ‘boots on the ground’ is visible, accessible and engaging with our communities to deter and prevent crime and anti-social behaviour rather than merely responding to it. We want our police to be available to residents and offer reassurance and a familiar face they can have confidence and confide in.
North Yorkshire is one of the safest places in the whole country, yet that doesn’t mean we can be complacent. It’s a simple age-old truth that criminals will seek to exploit nice places and are only deterred by the risk of getting caught. I am also aware of the under-reporting of rural crime. We will all be aware of someone who has not reported a crime to the police – this was highlighted in the Rural Crime Survey and the main reasons were lack of confidence in the police and insurance premiums. The reported crime picture is therefore the tip of the iceberg. I want to know the true picture so that the police can properly plan and resource a response. Our first line of defence is our police who must be focused on what concerns the communities they protect.
It’s a fact that some of the threats that face us have changed. Only a few years ago the terms Cybercrime, Child Sex Exploitation and Internet Fraud were not on the radar, yet they are a real threat to ordinary people. We also cannot be complacent about the national threat of terrorism. We need to be reassured that North Yorkshire has the capability and capacity to protect its people and our vulnerable sites.
Although our police force needs to develop to meet modern issues, my concern is that the police also need to keep up the pressure on the everyday issues that affect our quality of life. I’m deeply disappointed to see crime rising in North Yorkshire and anti-social behaviour blighting people’s lives. Rural communities are feeling vulnerable and isolated and their confidence in the police is falling because people just do not see them. Residents in our urban communities are also suffering anti-social behaviour from a minority who think laws and social responsibilities don’t apply to them.
Reported crime is rising and this not only affects residents and businesses but also the visitors to our county.
I am also deeply saddened by the number of fatal and serious collisions on our vast road network. Speed camera vans are not the solution; they are a limited part in a bigger picture. We need to do more to make our roads safer.
As an independent Police and Crime Commissioner I would want to set out some basics – up and down the country – undoing over a decade of building trust and visibility.
I don’t think the people want to see this in North Yorkshire and my belief and experience is that community policing should be the FOUNDATION of everything the Police does – without strong foundations and legitimacy everything else is shaky.
Independence and Appropriate Funding
The role of a Police Crime Commissioner as I see it is to represent the whole of our County and not the views or agenda of a particular political party. Simply sitting as local representative of a Westminster Government is something I fundamentally oppose.
This has happened up and down the country – not just here, and when the role of PCC was introduced I think most people generally saw this coming. I certainly did.
Pitiful voter turnouts last time saw deft manoeuvres by the main political parties to slide in their own people. North Yorkshire had no independent stand at the last PCC election. This was obviously not popular as we had more spoilt ballot papers than anywhere else in the country.
I am adamant that a Police Crime Commissioner should be fiercely and fearlessly independent and be free to challenge. We’ve seen major cuts already inflicted on North Yorkshire police and the results are being seen in our communities, as I’ve already described, and all presided over by a party-affiliated PCC. Up and down the country PCC’s and police chiefs have been vociferous about cuts – but not here.
I was appalled to see the Conservative PCC on television on the eve of the Budget announcement saying that NYP was inefficient and there were still cuts to be achieved. This was in direct contradiction of the HMIC inspection, which found the force to be ‘good’. Embarrassingly for our PCC, the Chancellor disagreed and announced that the police budgets needed protection.
I will fight to see that the policing of North Yorkshire is properly funded. In these times of austerity, where there are tough choices to be made, then they should be made in full consultation with the public not behind closed doors.
Working together to tackle root causes
Problem families, burglary, night violence, sexual exploitation and cybercrime are all very, very different and all require a diverse police response – but they’re not the sole responsibility of the police. Other public agencies and businesses need to tackle the root causes and strive for early intervention before they impact on the broader community.
It simply makes sense that it’s better all round to prevent crime rather than consent to be a victim. This means intervening with problem families, ensuring they make the right choices and do not adversely affect those around them. It means effective early intervention to safeguard those at risk and deal robustly with criminals who seek to harm and exploit. It means effectively identifying, managing and halting re-offending. Safeguarding our police numbers is also critical in delivering an effective police service.
If you want real change and someone that will stand up and speak up for North Yorkshire Police and its people, then please make sure you come out and vote for Mike in May.
Your ‘Independent Police Crime Commissioner’
Mike Pannett was born in York and served 6 years in the Territorial Army specialising in communications, before joining the police service where he spent 20 years policing some of London’s toughest boroughs before coming home to police North Yorkshires towns and villages. He has worked on murder and robbery squads; served on the riot police, and worked in community policing both urban and rural and was a wildlife officer. Mike is now a professional author and has penned several worldwide bestselling books about growing up and policing his home county. Mike is also co-owner of ‘Twiggy’s children’s play centre’ in Thirsk and Director of a communications and media company. He’s a Patron of Yorkshire and is one of the leading commentators on policing issues for the national media in the UK. Mike is married to Ann who is due to retire from the police service following over 31 years dedicated service and have 3 children. Mike spends his free time with family, enjoys walking in North Yorkshire and drinking Yorkshire Tea.