POLICE COMMISSIONER ELECTION: Address by Mervyn Barrett (Independent)

Mervyn Barrett
Mervyn Barrett
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For 30 years, I have worked hard to find out what really works to cut crime, and make our communities safer for everyone.

I understand what the police can and cannot do, and the roles and responsibilities of the rest of us. During my career I worked for the country’s largest crime reduction charity and advised government on how to cut re-offending.

Now I want to bring this experience to my home county, Lincolnshire, as its first police and crime commissioner.

My vision is for a police service that: Works to prevent crime, as well as catching criminals once it’s happened; Responds effectively to victims’ needs; Addresses people’s fear of crime, so they feel safe in the streets and in their homes

A lot of good work is already being done, but we still need to get smarter, using evidence and good practice to deliver real results. Out of necessity, Lincolnshire Police is already smarter than the average force but there is more we can do.

The police, councils and other agencies must listen more to local people, and work with them. Evidence shows that community consultation leads to more effective responsive policing, meaning fewer crimes and fewer victims. Working together to find local solutions to local problems is especially important to tackling problems such as the blight of anti-social behaviour. This type of crime prevention is also cost-effective. Investigations and prosecutions are expensive, and all too often the police have too little evidence to take action.

As commissioner, I would make sure not only that local partnerships are built, but also that everyone continues to work on them month after month, year after year.

I would also develop a police service that works with public protection agencies and others to deal with persistent offenders. At the moment, these agencies are good at enforcement, but less so at helping offenders make a break with their pasts. At the moment, offenders often fall back into crime, and we end up with yet more victims, and yet more cost to taxpayers. It is impossible to reduce crime significantly without breaking the cycle by providing the right support and services.

Finally, I am not a party politician. I want to keep politics out of policing. Policing decisions must be made locally, based on what works to keep down crime and maintain public order, not on party political whims or a ‘one size fits all’ approach.

The main parties vie with each other to be seen as the toughest on crime. This is seen as more important than what works and what doesn’t work. I believe that being tough on crime is about being effective in reducing it.

I would be proud to serve only the people of Lincolnshire, and answer only to them for my actions. Together we can build a safe, stronger community.

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