The real work that is needed

justiceIn November 2012 I was disappointed to come a close third behind Labour in an election to determine who would be Police and Crime Commissioner for Sussex, despite their experience, party machinery such as phone banks and a budget 15 times my own. Had the voting been reversed, my second preference votes would have been counted and there is a very good chance that I would have closed the gap on Katy Bourne whose resources dwarfed all 4 other candidates. For the sake of 2000 votes I may actually have won the election. However that is history. What is not historic is that our so called Police and Crime Commissioner seems much more interested in trying to encompass other emergency services within her remit, than she is on certain elements of Crime Reduction. The way in which our prisons operate and our Courts Service is run is surely much more important to reducing crime than trying to persuade residents to allow her to be the accountable person for the fire and rescue service in East and West Sussex?. The experience of those who wish or are required to visit our Courts is a matter that should be high on the agenda of the Police and Crime Commissioner. Our Courts are desperately underfunded and a number of them face a range of challenges. Since the abolition of the Courts Board, there are no other voices from outside the system that have the power to demand change in the way that a PCC could. By the same token, the PCC is someone who should be calling on the Prison Service to improve the conditions for those who are incarcerated as part of their punishment and rehabilitation. The fact that the Prison Service allocates a mere £1.87 per day for food for prisoners means that the men in prison in Sussex are not fed well enough to be able to concentrate on the various schemes to improve their education and address their health needs. I have cast my mind back but when Chris Grayling was banning books in prison (a decision that has now been overturned thankfully) I don’t recall a peep out of the Sussex PCC. Again, the political power of a Police and Crime Commissioner could make a real difference to the dialogue between prisons and the Ministry of Justice. Let us hope in the remaining three and a half years, our PCC and her colleagues will begin to address these issues, rather than focus on gathering together other blue light services, just because they share some buildings and the 999 telephone system.


About ianchisnall

I have a passion to see public policy made accessible everyone who want to improve the wellbeing of their communities. I am interested in issues related to crime and policing as well as in policies on health services and strategic planning.
This entry was posted in Community Safety, Justice Issues, Parliament and Democracy, Police & Crime Commissioner and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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