Who do you trust to keep you safe? That is the decision people across Wales face on May 5th. They will elect police and crime commissioners at the same time as their new Assembly Members.
When I started this job 2012, some people told me it would make no difference. Dyfed Powys is a low crime area, they said. It’s a quiet rural force. Budget cuts mean crime will rise. What can you do?
Today, Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire, Powys and Ceredigion have more officers on their streets. Those officers are spending more time out and about thanks to investment in mobile technology. Crime and antisocial behaviour combined have fallen further and faster since 2012 than anywhere else in Wales.
That did not happen by accident. It happened because I listened to people. They wanted frontline officers to protect them and prevent crime. They wanted the police to tackle the kind of crime that doesn’t make a headline but does make lives miserable.
I made the decisions necessary to prioritise those frontline officers. I scrapped targets so they could deal with issues local people told them were important. I cut the top ten salaries by 20%, scrapped an expensive deal on Ammanford police station and saved money so we could spend more on frontline police work.
Police and crime commissioners control hundreds of millions of pounds. They hire and fire Chief Constables. Who they are matters.
In mid-Wales we need someone with a plan, who can take tough decisions. We need someone who understands rural areas. We need someone you can rely on to keep our homes and families safe in an increasingly dangerous world.
Our choice is stark. My challengers are decent people but they represent a clear and present danger to our safety.
Plaid Cymru have a separation obsession. Their candidate wants to split policing in Wales from England. This is madness in an unstable world. Their feverish, consuming passion leaves them blind to reality. They are more concerned about Cardiff politics than the people of mid-Wales.
Labour had a single applicant. He lost his job last year when his own party kicked him out as leader of Carmarthenshire County Council. Councillors then booted Labour out of office altogether. When Carmarthenshire needed action it got political games. We cannot risk squabbles, incompetence and dithering on our safety.
Others are standing too. But they lack the experience and profile needed to get things done.
We faced some big decisions when I was elected. Thanks to the sound plan, decisiveness and determination I could bring, we are safer despite having to save money.
There is more to do. So long as people are people, we will have crime. Tackling it will always take grit, determination and courage. We need to protect victims, particularly in our poorest and hardest hit areas. And we need to tackle offenders and ensure they pay their debt to society.
I am entering this election proud of my record but knowing we have much to do. I am asking the people of Dyfed Powys for their support to see through the change we have begun.
Ultimately, you decide. That change cannot happen without your support. The only way to secure it is to vote for me on 5th May. Anything else lets chaos and political squabbles through the door.
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