Well done to rhylnewswire for promoting a debate on the issues in the forthcoming election for North Wales Police & Crime Commissioner. Richard Hibbs (Independent candidate) has also answered their questions but we are waiting to hear from Derek Barker, the former Chief Executive of Conwy Council who I understand joined the Conservatives last week in order to stand as their candidate.
The issue most often raised with me on the doorstep is resources: the sense that following the cuts which have already taken place, the police are overstretched. I am told of incidents where the police were unable to come or it took far too long to answer the 101 number.
These incidents need to be investigated, but let’s not lose sight of the big picture: the scale of cuts required over the coming years is much larger than the cuts already made. It is the Government’s policy which is wrong – along with its wider economic policy. Cutting too far and too fast is pushing up unemployment and crime. The police are being hit with a double whammy: more problems and fewer people to deal with them. What we need instead is a programme for jobs. This can include policing: ensuring people are safe and feel safe will have a positive impact on the economy.
It is important for the public to understand where the candidates stand on this key issue. Derek Barker will presumably be supporting Tory policy, while Richard Hibbs wants to make more cuts to policing.
A number of organisations are already seeking to arrange “hustings”: an opportunity for the public to hear what each of the candidates has to say and to ask questions. I hope others will join them over the coming weeks – email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to invite me to an event.