PFCC Partner Conference 2023 Roundup
Posted June 2023
The Essex PFCC Partnership conference was held, at Colchester Jobserve Community Stadium, by the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex (PFCC) on Friday.
Among the speakers were former heroin addict Paul Hannaford who now devotes his life to educating children on the dangers of drugs; Julie Taylor, whose grandson Liam was stabbed to death in Writtle three years ago, talking about the lifesaving bleed kits she now promotes; and Jess Russell who, after 18 years of extreme abuse from her husband, travels the country telling her story of opportunities missed by various agencies to protect her and her large family.
Georgia Harrison, who hit the national headlines when she waived her anonymity to speak out about her experience of revenge porn, appeared at the conference to thank Essex Police for supporting her as her perpetrator Stephen Bear was convicted and jailed.
The hundreds of delegates also heard about the success of projects – many of which are funded by the PFCC – such as Street Pastors, Minerva Project, Horse Watch, Lads Need Dads and Paws Project which all aim to reduce crime, give potential criminals a positive life option and make the county safer.
PFCC Roger Hirst said: “One of the things I really treasure about Essex is our ability to get things done.
“None of us can do it alone. The challenges and issues we face require more than just the police and fire response; they need us all to work together with joint purpose and passion. By working together, we can continue to build safe and secure communities we want in this county.
“Everyone who has spoken here today has come with solutions; they came with ideas about what we can do together. We have heard phenomenal stories which will stay with me for a very long time. It has been a powerful day.
“We have proven, in so many different ways, that by working together we can make such a difference.”
In his eighth year as PFCC, Mr Hirst highlighted the success of the Community Safety Partnerships which operate around the county to tackle localised issues – hailing them as the envy of the rest of the country where similar partnership work does not happen.
He also told how the Government’s £3m investment in the Safer Streets programme in some Essex towns is making such a difference to the confidence and safety to women and girls that he is investing a further £4m to create similar projects across the county – an announcement made at the conference, saying: “The impact of Safer Streets has been so significant that we have decided we need to do more from our own finances. We will target areas which suffer with antisocial behaviour, neighbourhood crime and particularly where women and girls feel unsafe.”
He said: “Today, our county is safer than it was last year. Crime is falling – down 3% in the last year. We are making a difference in so many different areas.
“I think, in some areas, we are leading the way in the country and are being copied. For the first time in my memory, we have started to see a substantial reduction in domestic abuse incidents, with 12% less incidents. After Covid-19, we thought people being stuck in close partnerships would have had the opposite effect. Maybe because we were ready for that. What we are doing is making a difference to the way perpetrators behave.
“Since 2016, we have recruited 900 extra police officers, making Essex Police the biggest and strongest it has been in his history.”