Your Opportunity to change Policing

On the 15th of November 2012 the election of the Sussex PCC (Police & Crime Commissioner) will take place. For the first time the electorate will have a direct say in policing. The Police Minister Nick Herbert said in a speech that this will be

"a new era in policing, when local people will elect a Police and Crime Commissioner for Sussex" .

Up until now the Sussex Police Authority has had this power; Who are they?, what do they do? I think most ordinary residents will be unable to answer that question.This will all change with the election, the electorate will be able to decide what Police force they want and how it operates. This is why I am putting my name forward to be chosen as the Conservative Party Candidate.

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Wednesday, 22 February 2012

The Guardians 10 questions for potential police and crime commissioners - Paul Dendle's Answers

 This is an article in the Guardian link  I have answered the questions and my answers are in blue

Directly-elected PCCs are intended to hold the police to account. As candidates emerge, here are some questions for them

Guardian photo

Before long, selection processes will begin in earnest and political parties will choose their candidates for the elected positions of police and crime commissioners (PCCs). As the names of people putting themselves forward begin to emerge, here are a few questions that any candidate worth their salt should be able to answer:

1.This year, a number of police authorities have taken a one-off grant from the government in order to reduce their precept and the impact of the cuts. There is no guarantee that this money will continue which means that next year, the new PCCs may have to make even bigger cuts or seek higher precepts. If you had been elected last year, what would you have done and why? Would you have chosen to take the one-off grant or not?

Yes I would have taken the grant and yes I would take the grant in future years if offered, the grant is conditional on holding any increase to less than 2.5%, I don’t see any issue in achieving this.

2.The new Act gives PCCs the power to "commission policing services from the chief constable (or other Providers)". How do you envisage using this power and what risks do you foresee? 

I think you have to consider using third party providers of services, but the key to making this work is in the procurement and contract management, Benchmarking and KPI’s (key performance Indicators) must be included in any tender document and if providers didn’t  achieve the KPI’s then provision must be made in any tender/contract to deal with this.

3.How do you plan to forge a constructive relationship with the chief constable, and what will you be doing to avoid or handle conflicting views and priorities? 
Any relationship should be based on mutual respect, The Chief Constable has a tough job to do as well as the PCC, any disagreements can be handled behind closed doors  and  the wise Chief Constable can use the PCC to take some of the political pressure off himself so he can operate more effectively
4.On the basis that limited police resources need to be deployed in proportion to where and when there is greatest risk of harm to members of the public, as PCC what action will you take to ensure your police force is doing this optimally?

Operationally this is the Chief Constable’s job, but within the Policing Plan there will be priorities which the PCC will direct the CC to concentrate on.  The key though is to create the conditions for the CC to do this most effectively, The Budget discussions will be a key plank of achieving this

5. Given the focus on the relationship between the police and the news media, what would you hope to achieve in your first 100 days of office in this respect?  
Expectations will be high for immediate change, in the first 100 days there will be little noticeable change in what is happening on the ground, 

6. How much do you worry that a large proportion of police resources spent on devising partnership protocols, emergency plans and interagency strategies etc are broadly equivalent to all the effort that went into Year 2000 compatibility?
A root and branch review of all interagency Strategies, Partnerships and Emergency plans will be one of the first things I would do, but it is already clear to me that there are considerable savings to be made in consolidating the LSP’s  (Local Strategic Partnerships) into more manageable groupings as well as including issues like rough sleepers and as well as this, I would give LSP's a four year term with annual reviews rather than extending on a year by year basis
7. It would seem that the fear of crime continues to rise despite the reductions in actual crime. What electoral promises will you make regarding this worrying trend?  
The fear of crime rises because there is a disconnect between local Communalities and their Police, if this is re-established in a real way then fear of Crime will subside.
8. As PCC you will be elected by the people of your area. However the police often work in other force areas (as happened with the riots last year) and maintain resources to tackle national (often organised) crime. What tensions do you foresee there and how will you resolve them?

Mutual Aid is always an important part of Policing, the balance in the goodwill account between forces has to always be kept in a relative equilibrium, if this starts to break down then there has to be a robust exchange of views behind closed doors.

9. Is policing a complex business or a complicated one?
It’s both, its complex in the many different problems and different groups within society, a sophisticated local strategy can deal with this, complications are the problems that arise, these can be minimised by making Policing more receptive and by empowering Constables to show discretion and common sense where this is required.
10. Police authorities have been criticised for being too invisible. How will you visibly connect with all the diverse communities of your area and bring democratic accountability to life?
Firstly the Police Forces should reflect the makeup of the societies that they police, In Sussex the issue is more about East European immigration and LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender)than BME’s so LGBT recruits and Russian, Polish and Lithuanian speakers should be encouraged to join.  But Sir Robert Peel’s principles of Policing number nine states The test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder, not the visible evidence of police action in dealing with it. But before you get to that ideal position you have to reduce crime and disorder.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

A Policing Vision for the future

The first thing I want to say is that I support and value our police forces. I believefor too long they have been victims of political interference and political correctness and they have not been allowed to get on with the job. The worst thing that ever happened in policing was the advent of the Panda car in the 1960’s; the Police became cocooned in their cars and lost touch with the public, meaningful Communication ceased.

The Police have to engage again with our communities, and I don’t mean the phony type of Public relations engagement which is just a veneer, I mean real visible engagement, the hard grind of pounding the beat and  engaging with ordinary members of the public and picking up intelligence and trends. 

Having real conversations with Parish, District and Borough Councillors, not just the obligatory visit every few months to a scrutiny meeting at the local council.  The Local Strategic Partnerships are worthwhile and valued, but they need to be re-focussed, they should be outcome based and should be consolidated into more cohesive areas grouping 3 or 4 District Councils together which would save money.  Also rather than having to bid for money one year at a time they should be given a 4 year contract with annual reviews, this 4 year contract would last for the period of the Police Crime Commissioners tenure.

 Our police forces are old legacy type organisations with plenty of baggage and working practices that need to be reformed,  procedures, and working practices have to be completely reviewed the accepted norms should be questioned.  Technology has to be a central plank to reform, linking the Police officer on the beat with handheld access to the network.

Top heavy self serving administrative structures feed themselves with continuing bureaucratic demands, high flying candidates play the careers game, they don’t want to rock the boat which undermines any type of change agenda.

The Police Commissioner role gives an opportunity for a candidate to institute real change, I believe any candidate should not think of a second term, they should concentrate on reforming  agenda for the full four years, the last thing the Commissioner should be doing is thinking how to be re-elected, they should concentrate on reform. Setting out a vision is the first step,

I believe we should make Policing the centre of our communities, if I quote Sir Robert Peel   “The police are the public and the public are the police”   In the age of localism this one quote encapsulates what should be happening.

Ordinary Police officers know what has to be done, they observe these grandiose hierarchies where talented officers fast track themselves up the career ladder passing the ordinary officer by , we should start by empowering the local officers, engage them in the change agenda and take on board their commonsense solutions to Policing

Monday, 6 February 2012

Policing - A vision from the past - Sir Robert Peel's Policing Principles

Sir Robert Peel
 I was recently reading a book on current Policing and mentioned in the book were the Principles of Policing as set out by Sir Robert Peel, I was struck by their relevance to Policing today and how these Principles could refocus our Police forces back to the Customer. I believe our modern Police forces have lost their way, they are top heavy with admin staff and are so concerned with managing the paperwork and all the demands of politicians that they have forgotten the real objectives, a re-balancing of the Policing priorities back to the Communities that they serve would be welcomed.  If elected this is what I would work for.

Sir Robert Peels Principles of policing
1.    The basic mission for which the police exist is to prevent crime and disorder.
2.    The ability of the police to perform their duties is dependent upon the public approval of police actions.
3.    Police must secure the willing co-operation of the public in voluntary observation of the law to be able to secure and maintain the respect of the public.
4.    The degree of co-operation of the public that can be secured diminishes proportionately to the necessity of the use of physical force.
5.    Police seek and preserve public favour not by catering to public opinion, but by constantly demonstrating absolute impartial service to the law.
6.    Police use physical force to the extent necessary to secure observance of the law or to restore order only when the exercise of persuasion, advice, and warning is found to be insufficient.
7.    Police, at all times, should maintain a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent upon every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.
8.    Police should always direct their action strictly towards their functions, and never appear to usurp the powers of the judiciary.
9.    The test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder, not the visible evidence of police action in dealing with it.

Rt Hon Nick Herbert (Police & Justice Minister) & Paul Dendle

Rt Hon Nick Herbert (Police & Justice Minister) & Paul Dendle
Nick Herbert (Police Minister) meets Paul Dendle on the streets of Arundel