The newly-elected Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Warwickshire has pledged to put the interests of the people of Warwickshire “first and foremost” as he begins to shape a new Police and Crime plan for the county.
Philip Seccombe – who was elected last week as only the second-ever PCC in the county’s history, succeeding Ron Ball in the role – says his priority is to listen to the views of communities across Warwickshire on not only crime but also the prevention of crime. He has also emphasised his desire to see a continuation of the increases seen in recent years of the numbers of police officers, PCSOs and Special Constables within the force.
The Conservative PCC, who is a councillor on Stratford-on-Avon District Council, also says he will always seek to do what is right for Warwickshire in his decision making.
He said: “I have signed the declaration of independence which emphasises that I am here to serve the people, not a political party or any one section of the electorate over another. This is something I take very seriously. Although I am a Conservative and will always be so, I will provide a robust voice for Warwickshire and will speak up first and foremost for what is in the best of interests for the whole county, regardless of political affiliations.”
Outlining his vision for policing in the county, Mr Seccombe has six priorities which will form the backbone of his new Police and Crime Plan:
- Equipping our police to make sure they have the right equipment, are trained and motivated with the latest tools and technology to make policing more efficient and effective.
- Protecting communities by building strong relationships with other partner organisations who play a role in reducing crime and anti-social behaviour, bringing criminals to justice and protecting local communities.
- Increasing police numbers – including police officers, PCSOs and Special Constables – by ensuring that Warwickshire Police secures value for money in everything it does, finding new savings through better procurement and reduced bureaucracy.
- Supporting victims of crime by launching a new Victim’s Charter to ensure that those affected by crime can have the confidence that they will always be put first and receive appropriate support for their needs right across the criminal justice system.
- Increasing police visibility through a renewed focus on neighbourhood policing to deter crime and reduce the fear of crime.
- Protecting the frontline by reducing back office bureaucracy and red tape to free the police to fight crime and ensure that, when crime does occur, victims receive a quick and efficient response.
Mr Seccombe also emphasised his continuing support for the Alliance with West Mercia Police, while stating his desire to ensure that Warwickshire retains its own Chief Constable and separate identity while continuing to explore other opportunities for collaboration.
“The Alliance with West Mercia has undoubtedly enabled Warwickshire Police to make significant savings which it would have been unlikely to have been able to make had it continued to stand on its own,” he said. “However I think it is vitally important that the people of Warwickshire continue to have a strong voice to represent their interests within the Alliance. That, in my view, is best achieved through the retention of separate Chief Constables and PCCs. I do not believe a full merger would be in the best interests of Warwickshire – the current arrangements serve the county very well.”
He added: “I am delighted to have been entrusted with this important role by the electorate and I am very much looking forward to beginning work on a new Police and Crime Plan, meeting officers and staff from across the force and to engaging with communities right across the county in the coming weeks and months.”