Tuesday, 12 November 2013

“Successful, busy and challenging”: Commissioner welcomes one year anniversary

Friday, November 15 will mark the one year anniversary of Cambridgeshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Sir Graham Bright’s election.

Sir Graham has welcomed the milestone saying that his first year in post has been busy and has seen many successes as well as challenges. The Commissioner cites a faster pace of response to demands and getting agencies working together more effectively as two of the biggest advantages of his role.

Sir Graham said: “This job is all about listening to the public and getting things done and that is the biggest advantage this role has over a committee – things get done quicker.  It was challenging in the beginning, setting up new processes that could support the new demands of the role, while ensuring I met some very tight deadlines around the budget and Police and Crime Plan. All of this happened while the role itself was, rightly, coming under intense scrutiny from the public. But we’ve seen huge progress within the past year in lots of areas.”

The Commissioner says that one of the busiest and most challenging, yet rewarding, parts of the job has been working towards collaboration with other forces in a number of areas to increase resilience, strengthen capability and make savings: “The nature of negotiations where several parties are involved requires a lot of time and energy, but that is paying off. Working jointly with Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire is already contributing around £1m in savings for Cambridgeshire.”

The tri-force Major Crime Unit which launched in April last year and has already secured more than 1,000 years in jail terms for offenders. The unit has dealt with some large investigations simultaneously across three counties, meaning that local officers are not taken away from the communities they serve to deal with major crime.

Sir Graham also cites the introduction of systems that enable agencies to respond effectively to problems in a much more joined up way as another success story.

“A new system to allow partners to share information relating to anti-social behaviour is allowing us to join up our approach and response to these issues. I championed the introduction of ECINS and the majority of partners have now signed up to it. This is in line with my pledge to focus on tackling anti-social behaviour.

“The launch of Neighbourhood Alert in September also demonstrates my commitment to Neighbourhood Watch. The system allows messages to be targeted at street level to subscribers by email – allowing Neighbourhood Watch and Cambridgeshire Constabulary to talk directly to the people they need to, when they need to.”

During the past year Sir Graham has also focused on the following areas in line with the pledges he made in his Police and Crime Plan:

Increasing the number of Specials partly through encouraging businesses to sign up to Employer Supported Policing – a scheme whereby employers support their staff to train and patrol as Special Constables. Sir Graham has set a target for 300 Special Constables by April 2014

Working to improve call handling: the emergency call handling response in October was better than it has ever been with 96.6 per cent of 999 calls answered within ten seconds.

Introducing an Outreach Worker for Peterborough and Fenland to support him in listening to the public and work in partnership with local agencies and voluntary organisations

Protecting the frontline: utilising technology to ensure systems and processes are focused on service delivery with minimum paper filling and easy transfer of data with criminal justice partners which can save thousands of operational hours. Officers across Cambridgeshire are trialling a mobile device that allows them to complete ‘paperwork’ without leaving the front line.

Increasing collaborative working with neighbouring forces, forging ahead with plans to collaborate and creating new shared units.

Listening and responding to the public: numerous local, regional and national meetings with individuals, groups and organisations. These include local communities, elected representatives, businesses, CSPs, volunteers including Specials and Neighbourhood Watch, parishes, members of the public via street surgeries and one to one surgeries. Sir Graham has also received and personally responded to around 1,600 emails and letters. He meets regularly with the chief constables and commissioners for Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and others in the Eastern region. He is joint Chairman of the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners and regularly meets his counterparts from other parts of the country. The Commissioner responded to concerns from the public regarding cycling in Cambridge.

Championing joined up working across the county: Sir Graham hosted a partnership event in February to encourage the sharing of good practice in relation to crime and community safety across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. He will also host a round table event on alcohol awareness on December 17 which will allow partners to discuss solutions to alcohol misuse.

Burglary: The current satisfaction rate of victims of dwelling burglary identifies that service delivery in this area is better than Cambridgeshire’s peers and significantly improved. The number of people becoming victims has fallen significantly with fewer than 200 victims per month for each of the last 7 months (compared to an average of 229 for 2012-13).

Prevention and Restorative Justice: an increased focus on working with young people to keep them on the right tracks and using alternative interventions to reduce the number of under 17-year-olds taken into custody.

Sir Graham’s priorities in the year, and years, ahead will include a focus on mental health, victims, road safety, alcohol, integrity and helping Neighbourhood Watch to increase its members.