If you feel in the dark about the upcoming Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner (Sussex PCC) elections, you’re not alone. Only 15% of the electorate voted in Sussex in the 2012 elections, and it was even less in some areas.
That’s not because people don’t care about their local police force. But many people are simply unsure of what they’re voting for, or how their vote will actually affect the way police work in their community. The Green Party wants to change that – we want to show people they have a democratic vote, and they can use it to make things better.
What is the Sussex PCC?
In 2012, the government introduced local Police and Crime Commissioner post, to replace the existing Police Authority system. Each elected PCC is now in charge of:
- Building the vision for policing in the community they serve. They create a Police and Crime Plan, which allows them to make a strategy and set objectives.
- Setting the budget, which allows them to prioritise the areas that need more money, and do away with any wasteful spending.
- Appointing a Chief Constable, and holding him/her to account for delivering a proper service.
- Making the police answerable to communities they serve. If you feel like your police service is doing a poor job, you can vote for a new PCC and make things change.
Why should I vote Green?
It’s no secret that, over the past six years, the government has been slashing the budgets of public services and selling them off to private companies. In Sussex there have been millions of pounds worth of cuts to policing, and at the end of last year £56m more cuts were announced, with up to 1000 jobs to be axed.
Unsurprisingly, that coincides with rising crime rates in the community. Recorded crime in Sussex (excluding fraud) rose by 7.9% over the last year, and over the past six years fell by half as much as it did in the rest of the country.
Meanwhile, Katy Bourne earns £85,000, and with a team of staff her office’s total wages last year were £809,297, including £71,208 for her Head of Public Engagement and Communications and £84,642 for her Chief Executive and Monitoring Officer. Overall her office costs, including those salaries, was £1.37 million last year – despite the fact that she promised to cut costs in 2012.
It’s clear that there are major issues facing Sussex. That’s why I will be fighting tirelessly against the government cuts and privatisation, and against unnecessary spending that takes money away from public services. I will also be fighting for:
1) A police service, not a police force.
It’s clear that homelessness and drugs are growing problems in Sussex. I want to see a police service that doesn’t aim to criminalise and marginalise our most vulnerable people, but finds ways to support and help them. Arresting or fining homeless people is not only inhumane, it simply doesn’t work.
2) Honest, evidence-based policing
I will encourage the use of diversion programmes to help people away from re-offending. I will expand restorative justice programmes so offenders can face the consequences of their crimes.
3) Greater focus on hate crime and violent crime
Racism, LGBT and disability abuse, and domestic violence are major issues that do not get the attention they deserve. I will create a strategy and a budget that puts resources where they are needed most.
We want to see a much bigger turnout in the 5th May election. By voting, you will be strengthening our democracy. By voting Green, you will be changing our police service for the better.