I believe that as a country we have become soft on crime and soft on the causes of crime; that all too often victims come last; that there are no real consequences for criminals and finally that too little attention is paid to preventing repeated crime in the first place by a lack of effective intervention and rehabilitation.
This situation has arisen as a result of poor political leadership over the past 30 years. Not only do I think it fundamentally wrong that politicians should run policing they have not shown themselves to be competent to run our criminal justice system, courts or prisons.
I am seeking election as Lincolnshire’s Police Commissioner as it is important that people should be represented by someone who will put the public’s interest first and not those of a political party. I am also standing with an unashamedly ‘tough on crime’ set of policies. These policies are necessary because there has been a 3 fold increase in people appearing in court with 15 or more convictions in the last 10 years. Why? Because our politicians have been soft and
- introduced a system of community service orders where 25% are not complied with
- written off £60 million worth of fines that people can’t be bothered to pay
- introduced a tagging system where 55% of those tagged have breached the terms
- allowed prison sentencing to be determined by the number of places, rather than keeping us safe
- failed to protect our borders and deport foreign criminals
- allowed our prisons to be awash with drugs so undermining rehabilitation
The Lincolnshire public are sick and tired of the petty crime and antisocial behaviour often caused by repeat offenders. Such offenders show contempt for their neighbours, the police and the courts. Our police may not be perfect but many problems are caused by our failing politicians.
The Police Commissioner has to work with probation, courts and the CPS to ensure an ‘efficient and effective criminal justice system’. I will work hard to reverse the trends of the past 30 years and strengthen successful programmes to prevent crime in the first place.
- seek tougher sanctions for repeat offenders
- respond to concerns about visible and rural policing in a number of ways including
- releasing officers from paperwork and being desk-bound
- introduce locally based community special constables with the power of arrest
- strengthen support for organisations like Neighbourhood, Business and Farm Watch
- toughen enforcement of Community Sentences and fines so that those convicted WILL comply with them
- strengthen the approach to antisocial behaviour campaigning for example for councils to have proper powers to ban street drinking and control alcohol sales. A statement on my broader approach to ASB can be found at the link HERE
- make the police and G4S, their major contractor, accountable to you the public
- make sure Lincolnshire gets its fair share of government grant for a change
In addition I will campaign for
- tough minimum sentences for drug dealing and possession of weapons
- tougher border controls
- rebalancing the system to favour the victim
- better investment in treating and preventing drug and alcohol abuse and other rehabilitation programmes
- better investment by the NHS locally in mental health
But our police are appallingly funded – the worst in the country. It is a myth that this is because the crime rate in Lincolnshire is low, it is not. Crime rates in the home counties are 6% lower than in Lincolnshire and yet they have 18% more police per head. Worse they have lower council taxes because we subsidise some of the most affluent parts of the country. Our politicians have done little to redress this but I have started a campaign with other rural forces, with a protest delivered to No 10 and the launch of a national petition which you can sign here. This is an example of the strong leadership I will give.
Candidates are allowed to spend up to £100k on getting elected. That fills me with horror. I don’t believe that public posts like Police Commissioner should be bought or sold. I’ve not accepted a penny from anybody. I’m relying upon like-minded people to support me.
Finally and just as importantly we want to prevent crime in the first place. We need an evidence base approach to preventing offending or making people desist from crime. At the heart of this are parents and families supported by schools and communities. Communities, with support from the police and other agencies, need to take control. Organisations like Positive Futures, Youth Offending Team and those involved in education about drugs and alcohol can help. With offenders, initiatives such as Restorative Justice, Integrated Offender Management Programmes and targeting known criminals have their part to play. Where there is evidence that they work they should be protected from cuts and where possible expanded.
As an independent candidate with no party line from London to follow David will refine and develop his policies in the light of concerns the public in Lincolnshire express.
To make your views know you can contact David Bowles on [email protected] or on 07774-224246.