Sussex PCC now leading national association of Police & Crime Commissioners
Sussex PCC Katy Bourne has been elected as the Chair for the national body representing Police & Crime Commissioners, the APCC. Read her speech on taking up this exciting role;
“As your freshly elected Chair, I can assure you that I will not waste a moment over the next year to raise the profile and influence of Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) for the benefit of police officers and staff but also our communities across England and Wales.
When I think about the work we could drive, it falls into five main areas:
• Supporting our people - police officers and staff
• Building public confidence and their consent to be policed
• Channelling innovation for an agile response to crime trends and threats
• Developing a whole-systems approach to the Criminal Justice System
• Remembering our work is ultimately about real people
I want us to look hard at the feedback from the Front Line Review of Policing and not miss an opportunity to show that we understand the frustration and pressure of day to day police experiences and to follow that up with real action.
We should be part of the listening process that turns frontline ideas into good practice; we need to continue championing wellbeing and mental health; we should support intelligent supervision that provides guidance without stifling discretion, and we need to be brave about the sort of senior police leadership that inspires officers, boosts morale and, importantly, delivers results.
I see the APCC engaging much more closely and more often with the NPCC and Superintendents Association, with the Police Federation and Staff Associations in a collegiate approach to problem-solving and how we approach Government.
Public confidence and consent:
We have all seen the challenges to PCCs issued by former and serving senior officers. I want the APCC to be able to demonstrate the value of PCCs in reconnecting the public with police.
The scale of our listening and engagement with local communities is in a different universe to our Police Authority predecessors. We know what worries people and we know what they want because they tell us and we tell our Chief Constables.
There are many more challenges to come beyond funding where the public’s faith in police will be tested - in the use of AI and facial recognition for example. We, PCCs, need to broker those debates about security and liberty and it is us that should be having those conversations directly with the public.
Innovation and enabling strategies:
I’m sure we can work better across Government departments and agencies (like NASA did) to make some great leaps in policing. We have made huge strides in smarter procurement and collaborating within policing to reduce costs but are we tapping into the wider knowledge and opportunities that already exists in other departments of state?
If the protection of its citizens is a primary duty of a Government, is it time we pushed for greater collaboration to take down unnecessary barriers between officials and officers?
Whole systems approach:
This brings me to the fourth and probably most challenging area: how do we use the collective management information in the component parts of the criminal justice system to help understand and improve justice outcomes?
Put simply, there are far too few convictions at the end of the criminal justice process, which affects policing decisions and resource allocation; it undermines public confidence and it emboldens criminals.
I have made a start in one area by leading the Video Enabled Justice Programme which uses existing technical approaches to save thousands of hours of police time.
The data we have collated into our CJ Dashboard, as we have developed VEJ, shows the alarming drop off in the volume of cases making it into our courts and to convictions.
Making a difference to real people:
That brings me to the reason I hope, and believe, we all ran for office in the first place; to make a real difference through articulating the concerns of real people and ensuring our police forces make them feel safer and make criminals feel very uncomfortable.
We may have different political views and affiliations but each of our voices is valuable and should be aired and heard here. After all, blowing out somebody else’s candle doesn’t make your own shine any brighter.
So, let’s work together and, with the excellent team here at the APCC, make sure we keep on making a difference.”