Archives for April 2016

Safer Homes

A couple of weeks ago I was sitting with support workers in a new sexual assault referral centre. We sat on comfortable sofas. The room smelt fresh and clean, with new paint and flowers.

I had introduced these centres, with support from Home Office funds, to help with the most destructive of crimes. As I chatted to a support worker over a cup of tea I realised what that meant. I listened to her describe the case of a girl abused by her own father over several years.

This was a particularly harrowing case. It reminded me that these things can happen anywhere, even in the quietest corners of rural Wales. There are many others, some as serious but many less so.

I launched my manifesto with Hafan Cymru to help tackle crime in the home.

I launched my manifesto with Hafan Cymru to help tackle crime in the home.

When I was first elected to this job, I was determined that rural areas and rural crime should not be forgotten. I am even more determined now. Rural policing is not just about rustling and wildlife crime. Rural policing is about protecting the poorest and most vulnerable in our remote rural areas.

I launched my election manifesto with charity Hafan Cymru because I want to use my campaign to tackle abuse in the home.

In my manifesto I am promising to increase support for victims of domestic and sexual abuse. These crimes have a particular ability to rip the heart out of people’s lives, which is why we must support their victims. They are often hidden in our homes, which is why we must all tackle them.

I increased support between 2012 and 2016. If elected I want to increase it further, working with voluntary groups, local councils and the Welsh Government to make sure we spend every penny where it makes a difference.

We need to improve the ability to investigate crimes, in particular digital and cyber investigations, to put dangerous people in prison. But we also need to work harder to prevent these crimes. That means intervening earlier, where abuse is suspected. It also means tackling problems which contribute to abuse, like drugs, alcohol and mental health problems. Where we cannot prevent a crime, we must make sure punishments ensure offenders mend their ways.

To tackle these problems we need more work with local public services. We must not turn everyone, particularly the mentally ill, into criminals. I want to invest more heavily in support with local councils and health bodies. And in turn I want to see them do much more to prevent problems escalating in our local areas. If elected, I will make clear my commitment and my expectation to ensure we protect the most vulnerable in their homes.

I have seen what the role of police and crime commissioner can achieve. I have successfully put more officers on our streets for more time for less money. I have increased support for victims by working with charities like Llamau and Hafan Cymru. I can see what more we can do.

Everyone wants to tackle these problems. I have no doubt my opponents want to do the right thing. But they don’t believe in the role of police and crime commissioner and they don’t have a plan. The choice for the next Police and Crime Commissioner for Dyfed Powys is clear: my safe plan or their shaky opportunism.

I want a safer Wales and a safer Dyfed Powys. I want our poorest people – those most hit by crime – to be safe in their homes, even in our most rural areas. That is what my plan means: safer homes.

The only safe choice is to vote Christopher Salmon for Police and Crime Commissioner on 5th May.

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Safer Communities

On the wall of Llanidloes Town Council chamber is a copy of a charter from Elizabeth I. It grants liberties to the town and the right to “seize all robbers, murderers and wrongdoers… [up to] one league from boundaries” of the town.

Opposite are a row of pikes from the town’s militia. Oak panels cover the walls, with pictures from the town’s life. The chamber is clean and well kept. It looks out on to the market square. This must one of the finest civic buildings in Wales.

I was visiting to discuss the town’s police station with local councillors. As elsewhere in Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Powys, I have committed to improving local police stations. I want them to reflect local pride. And I want them to reflect the pride we, rightly, feel in our police.

We had constructive discussions. I’m determined Llanidloes will keep its police station, as will other towns. I have committed to ensuring that all communities retain their police base, even where we have to move locations.

Why have I done this? Because at the heart of our approach to policing in Britain is a very simple principle. That is, the police – like government itself – are the servants not the masters of the people. Police officers serve communities, not governments. They belong to those communities. That’s what the Llanidloes charter says.

That principle is a foundation of our liberty, our laws and our justice. I believe it is our single greatest national inheritance. I want to use its great power to make our towns and villages even safer.

I will continue to prioritise local officers and PCSOs, to cut bureaucracy and support local decisions.

I want to see much more of the public in policing. If I am re-elected I will ensure that every town, village or community that wants a dedicated Special Constable, with full police powers, gets one – the return of the village bobby in modern form. I want to see them on our streets in the next few years.

These committed volunteers already serve alongside regulars across Dyfed Powys. While we cannot afford to put a police officer in every village, we can support local people who want to give something back to their community and build their skills along the way. Special Constables represent a long history of organised public involvement in keeping communities safe.

I will expand Community Speed Watch schemes, which give local people and police the chance to tackle problem driving together. They already work in Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire, with more planned for Carmarthenshire and Powys. I am proud they are proving so popular.

We are lucky to live in such a safe part of the world – the safest, in fact, in Britain. But we must not forget that rural areas look beautiful but can hide real problems. I want to ensure that we protect our poorest areas and communities where crime does most damage. I want us to prevent crime by tackling the small things early – before they become the big things.

That is why I’m putting your local officer at the heart of my plan for safer communities. If it was good enough for Elizabeth I, it’s good enough for me!

If you support that plan, please vote for Christopher Salmon on May 5th.

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Your Safety, Your Choice

What makes you feel safe? Ask the public and this is the answer they will give: local officers.

History tells us the same. It’s why we developed local police forces, made up of local people, to keep the peace. Experience tells it. Constables (and now PCSOs) are the link between ordinary members of the public and the organised powers of the state. Poll after poll tells it. People want visible, accessible local police.

Elections tell it. Shortly, I believe, we will hear the message again. If you want to secure the extra officers we have since I was elected in 2012, with more time on patrol, you have to vote for me on 5th May.

My plan for the next four years has your local officer at its heart. My manifesto is a plan for safer, stronger communities, homes safe from abuse and rural businesses safe from the costs of crime. I want to focus on tackling crime in our poorest and most vulnerable areas so everyone has a chance at a secure, safe and prosperous life.

If I am elected, I will work with local people to help secure their area. Every town, village or community which wants a dedicated volunteer Special Constable, with full police powers, will get one – a modern version of the village bobby.

I will expand Community Speed Watch programmes, which I introduced to give local people control over speeding in their community. I will continue my plans to invest in police stations, so they work better and reflect local pride in our police.

Crime does not stop at the front door. Some of the most disturbing cases take place inside our homes. Child abuse, domestic violence, sexual exploitation and slavery take place behind closed doors.

We must tackle this but it cannot all be done by the police. They are there to arrest and prosecute criminals. But health, education, social services and the voluntary sector are often best placed to spot the early signs and protect victims.

I will increase my support for victims. I will build further on my new sexual assault centres, Help Hub service and support for runaway children.

But we won’t solve the problem if we don’t also tackle the people who commit these crimes. That means tackling problems in the family, drug and alcohol abuse and mental health issues. It also means ensuring that justice comes quickly so that criminals learn that crime leads to punishment. I want local justice to ensure offenders mend their ways.

Finally, I want our businesses to be safe from the costs of crime. Secure businesses make for a secure local economy, which means more jobs and prosperity. I’ve been struck how seemingly minor crimes have a major impact on small retail businesses. I will establish a regular business crime forum, so representatives from business and the police can discuss the latest intelligence, share knowledge and prevent frauds, scams and online crime.

That is my plan to build on our success and secure our future.

I insisted on two things when I was first elected as Police and Crime Commissioner in 2012: protect front line officers and focus on preventing crime.

We now have more officers spending hundreds of extra hours on our streets every day. Crime and antisocial behaviour – what the public experience – have fallen further and faster than anywhere else in Wales. And it costs local households less. Carmarthenshire, Powys, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire are the safest places in Britain.

My opponents offer plenty of criticism but no ideas. They do not believe in the job. They think police and crime commissioners should be scrapped but – quelle surprise! – they’re happy to take the salary. Their promises mean less money for front line officers. They have no plans because they are more interested in playing politics with their friends in Cardiff than in keeping people safe.

I have delivered the promises I made in 2012. I’m asking for your support to secure those gains for 2020.

The choice at this election is clear: my positive plan to keep us safe from crime, or politics and opportunism from my opponents. Your vote will decide the answer.

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