John Raine is standing for election as the Green Party candidate in West Mercia for Police & Crime Commissioner. The date of the election is May 5th 2016.
West Mercia covers three counties: Shropshire, Herefordshire and his home county Worcestershire, and John welcomes support from residents across the region who support his policies and would like to see him represent ther views.
"If elected as your Police and Crime Commissioner, my six top priorities are to:1. Devise and run a positive campaign to encourage more victims to report the crimes they suffer, particularly domestic violence, sexual abuse and other such under-reported violations; providing reassurance that the police will always respond with sensitivity and professionalism.
2. Prioritise speed enforcement on our roads. The dangers of excessive speeding are the issue of most widespread public concern in my county council division. I also wants to see the designation of many more 20 mph zones in residential areas.
3. Strengthen ‘neighbourhood policing’, with more police and PCSOs visible on our streets working closely with local communities. This is important because it will help prevent crime and make the public feel safer. Further cuts to the policing budget must be resisted to secure such neighbourhood policing.
4. Provide more support for constructive, restorative justice programmes for offenders, including making reparations to victims, and addressing the problems underlying anti-social and criminal behaviour (e.g. investing more in alcohol and drug treatment programmes and in mentoring schemes that help offenders find jobs, access suitable accommodation and live healthier and less chaotic lives).
5. Support more sharing of specialist equipment and facilities with neighbouring police forces to ensure greater efficiency and value for money while also passing more budgetary responsibility for community policing to local commanders to enable more responsiveness to local needs and circumstances.
6. Create more opportunities for communities to engage with their PCC (e.g. by holding more ‘surgeries’, community meetings, consultations etc.) to strengthen local communications and accountability.
Introducing Green Party PCC candidate John Raine ...My family and I have lived within the West Mercia area – in West Malvern, Worcestershire – for the past 37 years. I am a recently retired professor in criminal justice at the University of Birmingham and also a Green Party county and district councillor in Worcestershire and Malvern Hills. The key goal of the Green Party in relation to policing and crime is to help people be safe and feel safe. To that end, the Party is committed to local neighbourhood policing, to increasing the visibility of police on our streets and to their working closely with local communities. We want to see more investment in activities for young people, so confronting the issues that so often lead to anti-social behaviour. And we are committed to addressing the causes of crime and the effect of such behaviour on neighbourhoods.
My credentials ...Criminal justice has been my main specialism over my thirty six year career at the University of Birmingham, and I have a strong track record of research on policing and the justice system, having led numerous research projects for the Home Office, Ministry of Justice, Victim Support and for local criminal justice agencies, including for the magistrates’ courts in West Mercia. In recent years my work has particularly focused on police governance and on the role of the Police and Crime Commissioner in holding chief constables and police forces to account. Since 2002 I have served as a member of the Criminal Justice Council for England and Wales.I also have considerable experience as a local public service leader and have served at all levels of local government in the community: as a parish councillor in West Malvern, from 1995 to 2000; as a district councillor at Malvern Hills since 2000, where I am currently vice-chairman; and as a Worcestershire county councillor since 2013. I have served as a secondary school governor and I chair the governing body of the ‘Malvern Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’ as well as being a board member of the Malvern Hills Conservators (the body responsible for looking after the hills).
Why we need a Police and Crime CommissionerThe role of Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) was introduced in 2012 to provide democratic leadership and oversight of policing and crime reduction on behalf of local communities. A Commissioner is elected for each police force area in England and Wales and is responsible for consulting on, and setting, the priorities for policing in the local area. Commissioners are also responsible for holding the chief constable and police force to account, including for the achievement of such priorities. Previously these responsibilities were undertaken by committee-style ‘police authorities’, each comprising a mix of nominated councillors and independent appointees.While public awareness of the PCC role and voter-turnout at the first elections in 2012 was very low, my own research suggests that democratic accountability of policing has generally improved as a result of having a directly elected and full-time office-holder. It also suggests that PCCs have mostly been more effective than the predecessor police authorities in holding chief constables and their forces to account. Experience shows the PCC role to be a very demanding one, not least because most police force areas are very large and with varying policing needs.West Mercia Police area covers the whole of Herefordshire, Shropshire and Worcestershire with a total population of more than 1.2 million residents. For this reason, I want to pursue a ‘team approach’ that will involve working closely with a group of local councillors, at least one from the five local police areas of West Mercia – Herefordshire, Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin, North Worcestershire, and South Worcestershire – to ensure good links with local people and with the front-line policing teams.
Please visit johnraineforpcc.org for more information, to contact me, or to stay updated with progress on Facebook and Twitter.