Strengthening powers and showing support for policing
PFCC responds to Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill
Roger Hirst, Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex, said “The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill represents a significant strengthening of policing powers and clear support for policing in our country. Many elements of the Bill are issues that we have worked hard with government to change and getting them into this Bill shows the government is taking our concerns seriously and acting in support for our police forces, in Essex and nationally.
“In Essex we have worked together with councils, education, health and our emergency services, through our Violence and Vulnerability Partnership, to tackle violent crime and in particular drug driven violence. Our approach is working and we are protecting more young people and starting to reduce the violent crime that has such an impact on our communities. This Bill introduces a legal duty on a number of public sector partners to prevent and tackle serious violence. This builds on our successful approach in Essex and puts it on a statutory basis that will provide greater focus for partners when working together to tackle violence. The introduction of Serious Violence Reduction Orders will also provide the police with a useful new tool to tackle behaviour and stop it from escalating. Finally the proposed new tougher sentencing powers, including strengthening the guidance on people found in possession of a knife on at least two occasions sends an important and clear message, that if you choose to commit crime, to carry weapons and put our community in danger there will be significant sentences as a result.”
The Bill also includes the proposal to introduce a Police Covenant, increase the maximum sentence for Assaults on Emergency Workers from 12 months to two years and support for our Special Constabulary by helping them join the Police Federation so they can access the important support it provides.
Roger Hirst said: “Our Police officers do an amazing job and have for too long been undervalued and haven’t received the recognition they deserve. The introduction of a police covenant will put their valuable role in society on a statutory basis and provide them with the recognition and the broad range of support that is provided to other vital services such as the Armed Services. The Bill, if successfully passed into law, also increases the maximum sentence for assault against emergency workers which is another clear signal that we value the role they have and we are committed to protecting those who protect us. It is outrageous that officers have had to face the impact of being assaulted while at work protecting their communities while those who attack them have walked away with short sentences. We must do better and this Bill is a step in the right direction. Finally, in Essex we have the second largest Special Constabulary in the country. With 519 officers working in total around 200,000 hours per year. These officers do a great job and deserve the same protection and support that our regular officers get so I am pleased that this Bill makes it possible for them to join the Police Federation with their colleagues and enjoy that same level of support.”