One of the candidates running to become Somerset’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) has spoken out this week against cutbacks to the police force in the Burnham-On-Sea area.
Speaking to Burnham-On-Sea.com, Mark Weston said that more needs to be done to protect police services in the area.
“We need to protect the front line, that’s officers on the beat working from local police stations, instead of inflating the back office.”
“Over the last three years police numbers have fallen but the human resources team has more than doubled. Police stations have closed, yet the public relations team has grown by a quarter and the office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) now costs £100k more than the Police Authority it replaced.”
“Avon and Somerset is now on its fifth Chief Constable in less than three and a half years. No wonder the current PCC is relying on the ‘keep politics out of policing’ slogan. What we need in Avon and Somerset is clear, strong leadership rather than hollow catch phrases dusted off to distract voters from the real issues.”
He added: “Politics has always been a part of policing. The PCC has real power to hire and fire Chief Constables, controls a £270.7 million police budget and sets the local priorities for policing in Avon and Somerset – spending taxpayers’ hard earned money to keep them safe.”
“In the past the force priorities were set in London and the budget was set by the Police Authority (made up primarily of elected Councillors) – the current system changes this – and gives power to the people to hold their PCC to account at the ballot box.”
“And so it should be. That’s why it is so important everyone gets out and votes on May 5 for this important role. That’s why I am standing as a Conservative candidate.”
“And the choice is clear: vote for a candidate who promises the world but delivers unsafe streets and wasted money. Or vote for me – a Conservative PCC – who will work with the Government to deliver lower crime and safer communities, while providing effective use of resources.”
“I’m already campaigning to save our police stations and custody suites in Yeovil, Minehad and Burnham-On-Sea. I will make sure your priorities are heard and reflected in our policing priorities.”
“One way to deliver safer communities and competent management is to explore collaboration with neighbouring forces – be it back office roles or joint procurement – as well as combining the latest technology with traditional policing.
Residents tell me they see rarely see the police patrolling their neighbourhood, Neighbourhood Watch Groups are being left to wither away (see final version December 2015 6.3 link), and Speed Watch volunteers are crying out for support.”
The debate comes as residents across the Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge area will go to the polls to elect a Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) on Thursday 5th May.