Clive’s Experience

I am a working class person who has seen the devastation that the loss of the traditional Lancashire industries can have on communities. How some of our towns have not been able to adapt to the post-industrial world and how our young people are not given the hope and opportunity that we once were.

This doesn’t apply everywhere, we have some wonderful business leaders, and it is great to see how some businesses have been successful and how our Universities have progressed but these are the exception. Sadly we have seen a breakdown in the close knit working class communities that we were once known for. Our children need to move further away to find work and the family connections weaken. Those left behind are often the elderly and isolated or the young and angry.

I may be expressing in terms of caricatures but in policing that is what you are mostly faced with, the extremes of society. Where everything is fine there is no need to be involved. It is where it isn’t that you can make a difference.

As an elected community representative for over 27 years I have dealt with these issues. The past thirteen years however we have seen the steady decline of services, through the Tory imposed cuts, and the impact this has had. It’s important to add that I don’t believe that the Tories cut the services because of a need to balance the books but rather because they don’t use public services like the rest of us and consequently they don’t value them. Their aim is to force us into paying privately.  They see public services as a way of making money rather than a means of supporting people in need. As an example just look what they are doing the the NHS!

In policing we have witnessed the impact the cuts across the whole of the public sector In the words of Tom Winsor, the then Chief Inspector of Policing “the police have become the service of first resort, not last resort” as they have picked up more and more social care, mental health and non-crime demand because other services have been withdrawn.  

We have also seen the decimation of youth services leading to more anti-social behaviour, and record numbers of young people being placed into the care of local authorities as family support services diminish.

As a County Councillor I had responsibility for dealing with some of these issues but I was also a member of Lancashire Police Authority for several years before becoming PCC. I understood the symbiotic relationship between the local authorities and the police. Most importantly how this can be developed if we are not only to deal with tackling the aftermath of criminality but on its prevention.

As Lancashire’s Police & Crime Commissioner my job was to deliver the best possible services for the people of Lancashire, services to the most vulnerable in society, victims of abuse, of antisocial behaviour, of hate crime, and to ensure that they get justice. We delivered this, and we were recognised as one of the best performing and most efficient in the country, despite the devastating cuts to the police budget imposed on Lancashire by the Conservative government.

We were recognised as outstanding for efficiency and use of resources by government inspectors. It was important that every penny we spent we spent on keeping the people of Lancashire safe. This accolade has already been lost by the Tory PCC who prefers to put police officers behind desks rather than on the streets.

I fought incessantly for a fair deal for Lancashire. To get our Bobbies back that the Tories kept taking from us. I had victories against the change in the funding formula that would have slashed our budget by a further £25m per year and in lobbying the government for reimbursement for the costs of policing the fracking operation at Preston New Road, that saw a return of approx £10m into Lancashire Police’s coffers.

For the Association of Police and Crime Commissioner’s I was the national lead for Fraud & Cyber Crime and sat on committees with Government Ministers. It was partly through my negotiations that we saw the national Cyber Crime Centre being placed in Lancashire.

The bottom line is that it’s important to have vision and values for what you want to achieve but it is experience that ensures that it is delivered. My vision and values are about demanding high standards, standards of police officer behaviour and standards of service.  Ensuring the money is spent well is a part of it but also ensuring effective governance and accountability.  

The past thirteen years, through Tory imposed austerity on northern police forces and local authorities, have been a struggle. The past three years, with a Tory PCC we have lost direction. With the prospect of the return of a Labour Government to work with, with sensible policies that recognise the importance of rebuilding neighbourhood policing and our connection with the public once again, the future for Lancashire’s policing is once again on the up.

Let’s Get Lancashire Police Back