South Yorkshire Police have been overseen by Labour politicians for years, and has an appalling record, from Hillsborough to child sexual exploitation and from the misuse of the police helicopter to spy on people to the leaking to the press of the raid on Cliff Richard’s house. The current Labour commissioner abolished community policing altogether, having to back track later, and spent over £100,000 on a legally flawed and ultimately failed attempt to sack Chief Constable Crompton over a press release, a decision described by the high court as unlawful and irrational.
The force has not been well served by its leadership and needs a change of commissioner to shake off this legacy, refresh the culture and meet the new challenges of the future. I believe with the right leadership, South Yorkshire Police can become the example for other forces to follow.
As commissioner I would
- lead a force which listens to local people’s experience of crime and anti-social behaviour; invests in neighbourhood policing in the communities, answers 999 and 101 calls quickly
- focus on crime and antisocial behaviour; too much police time is taken up with non-crime work
- learn all the lessons from the failures of the past and ensure they are embedded in police culture and practise
- improve collaboration with agencies working with vulnerable young people, mental health, drug abuse, etc; preventing crime and setting people on the right path.
As a member of the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Panel for the last six years I have been holding the commissioner to account on such issues as
- overall performance of the police in fighting crime and protecting the public
- value for money
- knife crime strategy and use of serious violence surge funding
- delivery of the programme for capital investment in the force
- the policing of the protests in Sheffield over the destruction by the council of healthy street trees
- policing in ethnic minority communities
- treatment of victims of crime and witnesses who may be of irregular immigration status
- the use of technology to intercept phone calls
- the conduct of Police lawyers at the Hillsborough Inquest
- the abolition and later reinstatement of community policing
The Labour dominated Police and Crime Panel has from time to time closed ranks to prevent me asking questions it didn’t want asked. I have been the sole consistent voice of opposition on the panel; though at times there has been a UKIP or Green member, the Conservatives have never won enough council seats in South Yorkshire to qualify for a member.
I have lived in South Yorkshire for 32 years, I have been a city councillor in Sheffield for 10 years and before that I ran a software business. I’ll use my experience of running a business, listening to local people, bringing communities together, and knowing at first-hand what a commissioner should be doing, to ensure that South Yorkshire Police does all it can to tackle the causes of crime across the area.
It is time for change.
We deserve and we demand better policing.
Police officers put themselves in harm’s way to defend us and they deserve our respect and support. We will sell them short if we do not have first rate leadership and accountability at the top.
I am determined to make South Yorkshire Police the example that others will follow.