My first priority is to stand up for our communities against the Tory/Lib-Dem 20% cuts to policing, which are undermining the ability of the police to respond to issues and to engage with our communities.
Until six months ago I was Chief Executive of North Wales Police Authority. I saw firsthand the damage the government in Westminster is doing to policing. This new post of Commissioner requires someone with integrity who will build a consensus on the way forward and work with local people, the police and elected representatives across politics – which is what I have been doing in various non-political roles.
I am proud to have the support of the Labour Party – a party that believes that we can achieve more by working together than we can on our own and which by investing in community policing secured a drop in crime of over 40%.
I want to put victims and witnesses at the heart of policing and the criminal justice system: I want them to be supported and the most vulnerable prioritised. I want them to be kept informed and to have an effective voice in the system. What most people who become a victim want is action to ensure it doesn’t happen again. We need the police to prevent crime and reduce reoffending. The best organisations learn from their mistakes. I want the police to be open and honest with people when they get things wrong and to put things right.
If elected, I’ll be out and about talking to local people and local police officers in the communities which suffer most from crime and making sure that they are working together to solve problems.
As Commissioner I will:
1) Visit the top 100 hot spots bringing together police and local people to focus on cutting crime and anti-social behaviour
My focus will be to actively engage with communities and build bridges between local communities and the police. I will regularly attend public meetings in each of the six counties and also arrange “walkabouts” with elected representatives, local police officers and PCSOs, prioritising the top 100 hot spots each year to ensure a clear focus on engaging with the communities most affected by crime.
I will maintain the current commitment to providing services through both English and Welsh as required by our citizens – language choice is key to engagement.
2) Ensure the focus is on victims who most need help and when people are let down, the police apologise and action is taken to prevent reoccurrence
I will set priorities based on consultation and hold the Chief Constable to account, ensuring public consultation on important issues. Organisations which welcome complaints and admit it when they get things wrong are much more able to improve. We need to set high standards and if people fail to live up to them, they need to go.
3) Improve efficiency by working with the workforce and with other agencies, in particular to tackle causes of crime and stop reoffending
We need to work with other agencies to ensure that the criminal justice system as a whole is effective and efficient. In Wales, we need Commissioners who will work with the Welsh Government and with local authorities to deliver a joined-up Welsh approach. But in North Wales we also need to work closely with the North West of England, recognising that transport is mainly East-West not North-South.
Although I know most people in North Wales oppose the scale of the cuts to policing, they will also expect me as Commissioner to work with the Chief Constable and his team to ensure that the money that we have is used as effectively as possible. I will use my extensive experience of improvement planning to ensure we get the best possible services for the money available. My experience has shown that you do this by involving the workforce – the people involved in the system know how to make it work better and need to be encouraged to share their ideas for improvement.
4) Provide comprehensive information on my work and consult widely
I will work full-time as PCC and publish details of all meetings and expenses claimed. I will uphold good governance: be accountable, transparent, responsive, effective and efficient, equitable and inclusive and follow the rule of law. I will ensure that a wide range of information on Force activities and what I am doing to hold the Force to account is available to the public via the Commissioner’s website. I will regularly involve the Police & Crime Panel in important decisions, not just when I have to and provide information to them on a confidential basis (so long as they are security vetted).
I am the only candidate in North Wales who is campaigning in Welsh, with a bilingual website and bilingual leaflets and talking to voters on the doorstep and in town centres in English and in Welsh. Close to half the population in North Wales is Welsh-speaking and many of our citizens actively prefer to communicate in Welsh. This new role is all about communicating with the public and that is why offering a meaningful language choice is essential – for the Commissioner but also for operational policing. Huge strides have been made in recent years towards a police force which embraces the opportunity to communicate in Welsh as well as English and I want to see that continue. There is a link to my Welsh language website above or click here: www.cymraeg.talmichael.net
5) Fight for fair resources from UK Government
North Wales is a rural area parts of which suffer from urban problems. The amount spent on policing per person is about average, but much more of that funding has to be raised locally. We need a fair deal.
See also what I have to say about dealing with the Government’s privatisation agenda, Living and Breathing Devolution, Promoting Good Governance, Equality, Integrity and Closing Public Reception Desks.