Election 2021: Suffolk PCC candidates outline priorities
- Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown
The elections for Suffolk's Police and Crime Commissioner take place on May 6 this year, after having to be postponed from 2020 because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
PCCs set the policing element of council tax bills, hold their area's police force to account to ensure an effective policing service, and make their force more transparent. They also provide funding to voluntary organisations' work, lobby central government and help direct priorities for policing.
In Suffolk, additional responsibilities also include representation on the Covid-19 local outbreak engagement board and the Suffolk Public Sector Leaders group alongside council leaders and chief executives.
Conservative Tim Passmore heads into the election as the incumbent, having held the role since it was first created in 2012, while the Labour, Liberal Democrats and Green parties are all fielding candidates to challenge him.
We have asked each candidate to outline their priorities for policing in the next three years, should they be elected.
Tim Passmore - Conservative
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"I was privileged to be elected as Suffolk’s PCC in 2012. We have one of the best police forces in the country. Suffolk is very safe.
"If re-elected I will do everything I can to:
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- 2 Boss who boasted of lavish lifestyle is bankrupt with £100k debts
- 3 First look at golf club's multi-million pound coastal homes development
- 4 ‘Unique’ farm in coveted river setting hits market for first time in 60 years
- 5 A14 delays as police deal with incident near Orwell Bridge
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- 9 Kesgrave shooting: Trial set to start as boy, 16, denies attempted murder
- 10 Kesgrave Kitchen praised by local MP after 'fantastic' transformation
- Put Suffolk first
- Deliver better Home Office funding
- Protect homes and businesses
- Support the economic recovery post-pandemic
- Focus on victims
- Increase officer recruitment and visibility
- Enhance public engagement
- Work and listen to suggestions for improving community safety, including children
- Target drug gangs and organised crime groups
- Make streets safer
"Violent crime, robbery, business crime and burglary are reducing. Vital voluntary /charitable sector commissioning will increase, focusing on domestic abuse, younger people and serious sexual offences.
"Many challenges cannot be resolved solely by policing – 'Team Suffolk' is the future!
"Crime is changing and more complex. 96% of crimes have a digital footprint, so investment into our cyber-unit is crucial."
Elizabeth Hughes - Labour
"Coming from a family of past and serving police officers, I have experience of the dedication and commitment that is required. If elected, there are three crimes I would make a priority:
"Victims of fraud are missing out on justice. There have been 4,000 people swindled of over £14million pounds in the past 12 months - this requires urgent attention.
"Victims of serious sexual assault and rape are being let down by the criminal justice system, with a dismal 2.6% charge rate for these offences. I will initiate a cross-functional team that would analyse why victims disengage so early in the investigation period and why the charge rate is so abysmally low.
"Young people in Suffolk are disproportionately victims of physical crime, intimidation and exploitation. We need investment in education and family services. Schools and families must be given the support to identify vulnerable young people and take them out of the hands of criminal gangs."
James Sandbach - Liberal Democrats
"As Police and Crime Commissioner I would prioritise community policing, working closely with the county council to:
- Improve visibility of police, ensure more open points of contact at local police stations and other community venues, and improve the responsiveness of the 101 call system
- Build new PCSO posts into the constabulary’s officer recruitment drive, and increase the number of officers deployed on the beat
- Fight for fairer funding from the Home Office for Suffolk’s police force
- Encourage local restorative justice schemes and court diversion to deal with low level offending, putting victims’ rights at the heart of the system
- Deliver an integrated plan with Suffolk Highways to improve road safety and tackle speeding
- Prioritise women’s safety, domestic violence and safeguarding issues guided by an expert advisory panel; encourage reporting with a public information campaign, establish a dedicated unit and helpline
- Establish a Community Justice Partnership between police, magistrates courts, and voluntary and statutory agencies."
Andy Patmore - Green
"Our communities are what define us. Whether they be rural or urban we need to strengthen these and provide a tailored police response for each one.
"Everyone within these communities should know who their local officers are and trust them to work for the community in which they serve.
"We should continue to vigorously tackle the county lines issue but with a more proactive approach that helps the vulnerable people who are targeted by these operations and the addicts that use them.
"Environmental crimes such as fly-tipping should be investigated by a dedicated, countywide task force that would aim to put a stop to this and other such crimes.
"Finally, Suffolk should be a 20mph county. Reducing speed limits on our residential streets and in our villages would reduce injuries from road traffic incidents and reduce pollution at the same time."