WHAT’S the best way to get crime down in Yorkshire and keep our streets safe? The answer should be obvious: dedicated police working with local communities, responding to what people want.
I’m determined to make this happen. That’s why, later this year, in Yorkshire, there will be elections for an important new job. We’re scrapping unelected and invisible Police Authorities whose duties hardly anyone understands and for the first time ever you’ll be able to vote directly for a powerful new local champion instead - called a Police and Crime Commissioner.
This is a big job for a big local figure. It’s a voice for the people of Yorkshire, someone to lead the fight against crime, and someone you’ll be able to hold to account if they don’t deliver. And with elections now just six months away, my message today is that this is the time for great candidates to come forward.
This isn’t just for politicians, but community leaders and pioneers of all sorts. People with real experience who’ve done things and run organisations, whether they are charities or companies. Whatever their background, they will need to be outstanding leaders ready to take a really big role on behalf of all of us.
Of course this isn’t about interfering with day to day action by police experts. It’s about supporting them and making sure local opinions and knowledge come first. Elected Commissioners will work alongside Chief Constables with a shared aim: making their local communities safer. Commissioners will be a democratic voice speaking out for people with powers over how police spend their money and where they focus their efforts.
Latest figures show that across Yorkshire crime has fallen. But we all know that the police can’t do everything and have to make choices. That’s where the new Commissioners can help. After all, it’s the people of Yorkshire who know what needs to be done: whether it’s a crackdown on persistent antisocial behaviour in your street, or worries over burglaries in your neighbourhood. That’s why already there have been hundreds of millions of hits on our new local online crime maps, at police.uk.
The police are there to serve and protect their local community. It’s simply commonsense they should answer to us all, too - and so that’s exactly what’s going to happen.