Rehabilitating our criminal justice system
Confidence matters. Not just in the sense of good PR, or a nice warm feeling inside, it actually matters. Thankfully, most people have very little or no contact with the criminal justice system, but we all need to have confidence that the system is in good health and working to protect us and those around us. You do not have to believe in a rose-tinted past in order to see that this confidence has taken a battering over recent years, and indeed decades.
Justice is seen as too slow and bureaucratic; investigative outcomes are poor; sentencing is seen as weak and reoffending rates are high. We urgently need to rehabilitate both offenders, and the criminal justice system itself. Few complex systems are perfect, especially those that have to deal with human tragedy and transgression as their bread and butter, but through the leadership of Local Criminal Justice Boards, that bring together all of the agencies involved in delivering justice, Police & Crime Commissioners can be the midwives to that transformation.
Join the conversation
I want to hear your concerns about policing and crime in the Thames Valley. That's why I'm launching a series of meetings across Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire to discuss how safe you feel in your community and to explain my priorities for Thames Valley Police.
It is an opportunity to find out more about the role of the Police & Crime Commissioner, discuss your priorities and to raise issues of concern in your area.
The first of these meetings will take place in Oxfordshire next month. Registration is NOT REQUIRED - you can just turn up - but if you do register in advance it will help me to judge numbers for the venue.
Monday 14th October 2019 | 6.30-7.30pm
Boundary Park, Great Western Park, Didcot, OX11 6EY
CLICK HERE TO REGISTER NOW
Latest rural crime event
This week I spoke to farmers, landowners and residents at our latest rural crime event at Drayton Golf Club near Abingdon. This was the second of these events this year and once again we had a fantastic turn out and a hugely constructive discussion about crime prevention and the work Thames Valley Police are doing with communities to tackle rural crime.
There is no special case for policing in rural communities. Not because these communities are valued any less, but because every community should be valued equally in the Thames Valley and should expect and receive the highest standards of policing.
As the largest non-metropolitan police force in the country, the Thames Valley area covers 2,200 square miles, much of which encompasses rural and often isolated communities. Whilst many of the policing challenges remain the same regardless of geography, the techniques and resources needed to tackle them can often vary.
Burglary and robbery can happen anywhere, but in rural communities it is often targeted at isolated properties and the property stolen may be farm machinery rather than household goods. Offences such a hare coursing and attacks on livestock are uniquely rural offences; and yet the challenge of domestic abuse, child exploitation and fraud can be just as prevalent.
The answer to this is to reinforce strong local policing. Thames Valley Police have ring-fenced neighbourhood officer to give them the time the public expect to engage with local communities. The Police & Crime Commissioner has continued to support the provision of 4x4 vehicles and specialist equipment to ensure that officers have the tools to do their job; and the increase in recruitment that is just beginning to lift the number of police officers will all go into front-line local policing.
Rural crime will remain a priority for Thames Valley Police, not because rural communities are a special case, but because they require a different approach. All communities, however urban or rural should expect engagement from the police, and understanding of the challenges that people face and a determination to keep people safe.
Cash seized from criminals goes to good causes
Voluntary and community organisations have been awarded £106,733 from the Police Property Act Fund.
The Fund, jointly managed by the PCC and the Chief Constable, is created from money recovered by the police and the proceeds from the sale of items that cannot be returned to identified owners, including seizures from criminals.
There were 61 applications to the current funding round with 27 organisations successful in receiving funding of between £1,000 – £6,925 to support the PCC’s Police and Crime Plan strategic priorities of Reducing Re-Offending and Serious Organised Crime and Terrorism.
The successful projects will receive funding to support a range of issues including domestic violence perpetrators, exploitation of vulnerable people, gangs and knife crime, offender management, public awareness and substance abuse.
To celebrate this work, this year’s successful recipients have been invited to attend a presentation ceremony held on the afternoon of Friday 20th September at Sulhamstead in Reading.
For a full list of organisations who have been awarded funding, please see Police Property Act Fund Donations 2019-2020.
Make your voice heard to help shape the future!
The role of the Police & Crime Commissioner includes holding to Chief Constable to account, setting the council tax precept for policing, commissioning services for victims of crime, funding community safety partnerships and setting the policing priorities for the Thames Valley.
I want to know your views about policing where you live. Please spare a few moments to complete my short survey and tell me what you think is going well and what can be done better. Click the button below or visit www.matthewbarber.co.uk/haveyoursay.
Please do spread the word and share the survey with friends and family!