I visited the market in Petersfield today and took the opportunity to talk to some passers by about their concerns. I was particularly listening for safety and policing issues that might be mentioned.
I have put myself forward to be the next Police & Crime Commissioner for Hampshire. And when I contemplate standing for a leadership role in my community, I like to hear local voices on the ground, ‘walking the beat’ as it were, to check that my understanding of the issues have a reality at the local level.
I know this to be a critical time of change and financial challenge for policing specifically and supporting agencies.
Throughout my first career in the Royal Navy, I have frequently met the police as partners and colleagues in this country and overseas. More recently I have met them as a coach involved with the Commissioner’s Leadership Programme for the Metropolitan Police, where often the discussion has been of strategic issues, Critical National Infrastructure protection and areas a National Security. So I feel I know something of the strategic context and issues that absorb almost two thirds of Hampshire’s police budget today. This is the part funded under a central formula to recognise this strategic context and common policing needs here as elsewhere in the country.
But most recently I have been more locally engaged in our local safety partnership issues as a Councillor. And this role has reinforced the essential need for this complementary work to deter crime and defeat criminals, who spoil lives and communities.
As I stood in the market, walked by the police station and bought a coffee, I had in mind the statistic that first jumps up from the web – that 99 crimes were reported in this neighbourhood in August. You wouldn’t know that from the scenes of thriving business and people about their daily life. But if in this peaceful place there are still 99 crimes, something must need to be done and our police force and partners sustained in their efforts