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Elections 2021: Cambridgeshire police and crime commissioner candidates answer your questions



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Cambridgeshire goes to the polls on May 6 for a host of elections. Over the coming weeks, we’ll be holding Q&As with candidates to help you make an informed decision on how to vote. We begin by quizzing those hoping to be the next Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Police and Crime Commissioner.

Darryl Preston, Conservative

Darryl Preston, the Conservative Party candidate for the Police and Crime Commissioner Picture: Peter Mann / Buzz Associates / + (46183321)
Darryl Preston, the Conservative Party candidate for the Police and Crime Commissioner Picture: Peter Mann / Buzz Associates / + (46183321)

What would your priorities for Cambridgeshire be if elected as PCC?

The most important job of a PCC is to listen to the concerns of local communities and businesses and act upon them. I have been doing that and have developed a straightforward plan to cut crime in Cambridgeshire:

1. Reduce crime – by recruiting many more police officers, keeping all our communities safe.

2. Safer roads – crack down on speeding to reduce accidents.

3. Preventing crime – invest in early intervention schemes and other initiatives.

4. Fighting organised crime – catching the very worst criminals.

5. Tackling rural crime – invest more in rural policing.

6. Communities first – ensuring the police prioritise local issues.

How would you help reduce violent and sexual crimes in Cambridgeshire?

Nationally, we have seen an increase in serious violence and knife crime often fuelled by drug gangs. I will lead a two-pronged approach to fight this scourge, with:

1. Robust enforcement of the law.

2. Support the police in the use of stop and search and prevention orders.

3. Have a clear, multi-agency violence reduction strategy.

As a detective, I led sexual offences investigations, including crimes against children. I support long custodial sentences for offenders and effective rehabilitation. Alongside investing in preventative measures, I will ask the chief constable to recruit more detectives to deter, catch and monitor sex offenders.

What can be done about the bike crime problem in Cambridgeshire?

Theft should not be the inevitable consequence of owning a bike in Cambridge.

This crime is a blight on our city and more needs to be done to catch the criminals responsible, tackle the root causes and prevent it from happening in the first place.

If elected, I would use the convening powers of the PCC to bring all partners to the table – police, council, businesses, rail companies and residents to create a new bike theft taskforce which actually works to cut bike crime once and for all.

Do we have enough frontline officers?

This year the government announced a further £636million cash boost for policing and is on track to recruit 20,000 extra police officers by 2023.

Cambridgeshire has seen its fair share with an extra £8.5million cash increase providing an extra 114 police officers – the force is now at record levels.

The good news is there are even more to come.

If elected, I am committed to bolstering frontline and neighbourhood officer numbers with full policing powers to keep our communities safe – safe, too, from online crime, which requires a different policing response.

Nicky Massey, Labour

Nicky Massey, Labour Party Police and Crime Commissioner candidate (46183324)
Nicky Massey, Labour Party Police and Crime Commissioner candidate (46183324)

What would your priorities for Cambridgeshire be if elected as PCC?

  • Violence and all harassment against women and girls: enough is enough, and domestic abuse and supporting a real link between all survivors and support services, including support for male survivors.
  • Our communities are fed up with being told what the police think they want. I will give the community back their voice and listen by launching community forums putting the community into a real partnership with the police force.
  • Crime prevention initiatives working with our community networks and neighbourhood watch.
  • Road safety by design.
  • More initiatives in dealing with rural crimes, like increasing the use of drones to help catch hare coursers.

How would you help reduce violent and sexual crimes in Cambridgeshire?

  • Fund active bystander training in schools and other education resources, and encourage partner organisations and businesses to have the training as well.
  • Facebook group Cambridgeshire and Peterborough says no to harassment of women and girls: We are mapping where street harassment has happened, to look at better lighting, CCTV, posters and indeed police patrols.
  • Tackle the violence that is depicted in mainstream porn by using my voice to demand change.
  • Embed domestic abuse ambassadors and a White Ribbon campaign in the community and in workplaces.
  • Proper support for victims linking them better to support services and not just giving them a leaflet.

What can be done about the bike crime problem in Cambridgeshire?

  • I am already working on two cycle theft prevention task groups that I set up to tackle this issue in partnership with police and CamCycle.
  • Mapping cycle stands and overlaying known cycle theft locations and looking to see what can be improved in these locations – CCTV, lighting, security...
  • I have a Cycle Point task group also to tackle the numerous cycle theft issues that Greater Anglia has there, including linking CCTV to the council’s CCTV, improving signage and patrols.
  • Continuing to work with others including CamCycle on more ways to help prevent cycle theft.

Do we have enough frontline officers?

Our communities often tell me they don’t see police officers around. Visibility of police is key for reassurance and crime prevention, and with a growing population we will always need more frontline officers, but we need the supporting staff also. We also need to retain valuable officers like our experienced PCSOs and community safety team that have been removed from their post this year. We need more officers looking at hidden crimes like digital crimes, rural crime, domestic abuse. To make a real difference we need real investment in essential preventative public services, mental health and in our criminal justice system.

Rupert Moss-Eccardt, Liberal Democrats

Rupert Moss-Eccardt is the Liberal Democrat candidate for the Police and Crime Commissioner election (46183355)
Rupert Moss-Eccardt is the Liberal Democrat candidate for the Police and Crime Commissioner election (46183355)

What would your priorities for Cambridgeshire be if elected as PCC?

If elected, I will improve the policing of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough in three ways:

  • Cutting crime, through liberal approaches that work
  • Neighbourhood police priorities will be set locally not centrally
  • Policing with integrity, consent and without discrimination

All three are important but the key to cutting crime is to reduce reoffending, particularly for 1st-time offenders. Crime falls most when new offenders don’t go on to commit a second crime. Research has shown that an effective way to achieve that is to make someone grasp the impact their crime has had on the victim, especially when the police run the process.

How would you help reduce violent and sexual crimes in Cambridgeshire?

Violent crime is a public health emergency that requires more than just a police response; the police must work in partnership with youth, educational and health services. I will lobby for Cambridgeshire to get a Violence Reduction Unit, like other forces.

As PCC I would remove the systematic barriers in the force to effective investigation and prosecution of all gender-based crime. Victims need support and the confidence that their voice will be heard, and that they will get justice.

I will support schemes that help young people learn what is right and how to avoid being caught up in serious violence.

What can be done about the bike crime problem in Cambridgeshire?

This serious problem has not always been given the expected priority. I will make sure that this nationally-acknowledged Serious Organised Acquisitive Crime is given the proper priority and will draw from the NPCC Cycle Safety and Security Plan:

  • Attack the organised gangs locally and nationally to reduce the sale of stolen cycles. Target action in hotspots and use special techniques such as decoy tracking. More on-the-spot fines rather than the expensive and unwieldy court system.
  • Make resellers check a single, mandatory database for stolen cycles.
  • Relocate racks to better areas. Use CCTV properly.
  • Help cyclists choose better locks and locations.

Do we have enough frontline officers?

No. The Conservative cuts have done serious damage to policing and have resulted in increases in serious and violent crime. The much-vaunted 20,000 new officers will only partially offset the damage done. Even if the force had enough frontline officers, it still needs greater numbers in operational support to deal with the increasing population and with the changing nature of crime, particularly around ‘cyber’ and digital evidence management. I will lobby hard for fairer funding for Cambridgeshire but also make better use of the funds we have.

Sue Morris, Reform UK

Sue Morris, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Police and Crime Comissioner candidate representing Reform UK (46450440)
Sue Morris, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Police and Crime Comissioner candidate representing Reform UK (46450440)

What would your priorities for Cambridgeshire be if elected as PCC?

My main reason for standing is that we are losing our civil liberties and that deploying police offers to do jobs they were never intended for is causing loss of confidence in the police and reduced respect. The police are a valuable and scarce resource and it is essential that we have a good long-term relationship.

My priority is to focus on all crime that targets local businesses, including rural farms and businesses. It appears that small crimes, such as shoplifting, come at the back of the queue. This is understandable while pressure is put on police to target more politically high profile crimes. If given a mandate by being elected I would give first priority to ‘offences against people and property’ ; a quote from the oath sworn by all constable.

How would you reduce violent and sexual crimes in Cambridgeshire?

I believe that the police do respond quickly and strongly to such crimes. I do not believe that it is morally right or technically practicable to identify those likely to commit these crimes and so we can not eliminate risk. I have read of an app used in Cambridge which facilitates contacting a friend or family member when setting out on a journey and then letting them know when you have arrived safely. This sort of approach is sensible but should not be used to build a climate of fear.

What can be done about the bike crime problem in Cambridgeshire?

Bike thefts, like so much theft, is encouraged when there is a market for the stolen items. Police getting to know their beat should be a deterrent and more attention should be paid to monitoring common methods of disposal and more vigorous prosecution of everyone in the chain from theft to disposal.

Do we have enough frontline officers?

Increasing the number of frontline officers can be tackled by reducing the numbers of experienced officers leaving the force and targeting deployment more thoughtfully. In 2020 the number of officers leaving the police forces in England and Wales was 2,363 (1.83% of the total). I would work with the chief constable to review the reasons for this loss and review options we could use to stem the flow. In the last CPP plan I found the following: “nationally 84 per cent of what the police do is not crime-related”. This percentage has to be decreased significantly. Many other enforcement agencies get police support because the police have power of arrest. The public has a right to expect the police to put crime first, I will make it a priority to investigate the underlying pressures for this shift in priorities and either redress the situation or report back to the public.

Read more:

Elections 2021: Who is standing for election as police and crime commissioner for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough?



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