A Week in the Life of the PCC
Last week was typically varied. Monday March 18th started early with a radio interview for BBC Essex, and television interviews with BBC Look East and ITV Anglia. I was responding to news that Essex Police gave a caution to a burglar.
It cannot be right, other than in exceptional circumstances, for someone who violates the home of another simply to be given a caution: cases must be prosecuted where possible. The Chief Constable is reviewing the facts and I will then discuss the case with him. Later in the day I met for the first time with the new Audit Committee that I have appointed. They are a group of independent advisers who scrutinise risk management and financial controls in Essex Police.
On Tuesday, I visited the Garrison Commander and the Royal Military Police (RMP) in Colchester to discuss the work of the garrison and in particular the partnership the RMP has with the local community and Essex Police. It is many years since I had visited the garrison and I was impressed with the facilities there. Afterwards, I returned to Chelmsford for the first meeting of the Board that will plan and deliver changes to how we deliver a range of important public services across Essex. Some of the focus of that work is on reducing domestic abuse and also on reoffending, both of which are priorities in my Police and Crime Plan.
I met with the RSPCA on Wednesday to discuss their concerns about several issues including dangerous dogs, neglected horses and hare coursing. In the afternoon I was at Broomfield Hospital where I am a non-executive director. It’s clear that we need more partnership working between the police and the health service. Every day the NHS and Essex Police encounter people who abuse alcohol and drugs. They also work with individuals with mental health concerns, sometimes having to manage incidents very carefully to ensure safe resolutions. I have decided to continue in my work with Mid Essex Hospitals NHS Trust as the understanding I gain from this will help me build a better informed partnership to tackle these joint areas of concern.
With the introduction of PCCs, there is a need for national level co-ordination, research support and information sharing. On Thursday I was in London to formally establish the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners to which all PCCs have signed up. It replaces the old Association of Police Authorities. Then I was back to Chelmsford to interview the first of the candidates who have made it to the shortlist for selection as Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner following my recent advertisement.
Friday saw my monthly financial review meeting with the Chief Constable and an important meeting concerned with Essex Police progress with responding to the difficult challenges of domestic abuse. A highlight of the week was then being invited to speak at the passing out parade of the latest intake of eighteen new Police Constables. I offer my congratulations to them all on successfully completing their initial training and best wishes for successful careers.
It’s not all hard work. On Friday evening I was a guest of the Chairman of Rochford District Council at her annual dinner, and on Saturday evening I similarly joined the Mayor of Castle Point at his dinner. Earlier, on Saturday morning, I joined a training day for our Independent Custody Visitors (ICVs) for a short while. I was pleased to meet some of our ICVs and extremely interested to hear a custody sergeant talking about some of the very difficult challenges running a busy custody suite.