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.