On the evening of 5th November 2012 at Biddulph Methodist hall I along with my sister, cousin and Cllr David Allport attended the Staffordshire Police and Crime Commissioner hustings kindly organised by the Biddulph Chronicle. We had the opportunity to listen to both candidates: Stoke-on-Trent City Councillor Joy Garner and Staffordshire County Councillor Matthew Ellis. Those who attended were given the opportunity to ask questions and scrutinise both Matthew and Joy regarding how they would fulfil the role of Police and Crime Commissioner for Staffordshire.
One of the first questions asked was about front line policing and reduction in police numbers. Joy has vowed to travel down to London to speak with the Home Secretary and ministers to oppose the unfair cuts to Staffordshire Police budgets. Joy acknowledges that cuts have to be made in the current economic climate however the reduction in Staffordshire Police’s budget appears to be far higher than that enforced on other Police forces in the country.
In contrast the Conservative candidate Matthew Ellis fully endorses all budget cuts to Staffordshire Police and appears to be in denial regarding the reduction in the number of front line police numbers and how this is impacting upon the morale of serving Police officers and PCSOs.
As my sister and cousin are both at the age of 16 they asked me to put a question forward about what a Police and Crime commissioner will do in general for young people in Staffordshire. As of August 2012 there were only 17 serving Police officers and PCSOs under the age of 25 in Staffordshire Police. Matthew Ellis claimed he had already liaised with business leaders regarding a formation of a Police Cadet Service. However there was no mention that the cadets would achieve a full-time position in the Police service at the end of their cadetship.
Joy is already a champion of young people in Stoke-on-Trent and strongly believes that Staffordshire Police should have a young people’s organisation involved in discussion regarding how the Police force should be run. If elected she intends to meet regularly with representatives of youth organisations throughout the County to honour her manifesto pledge. She even mentioned how well the Kidsgrove Youth Parliament had been developed by Kidsgrove Town Council and how she could roll out a similar innovation across Staffordshire.
John in the audience, the average local man on the street asked about what each candidate would do to challenge Anti-Social behaviour. If elected Joy intends to introduce an Anti-Social behaviour task force to ensure all reports of this nature are dealt within 24 hours. The Task force would work with community groups, residents associations and many other local organisations to ensure communities are working together to tackle problems head on.
Meanwhile Matthew appears to consider Anti-Social behaviour is on the decline and is no longer as significant an issue as it once was. He stated and I quote “I can’t offer you a silver bullet” and did not further explain exactly how he would tackle the issues mentioned.
The meeting went on for over two and a half hours with a great deal of audience participation. Both candidates have been given the opportunity to express their views and intentions. I have been heavily involved in Joys campaign and the response has been overwhelming in support of the Labour candidate. Whilst people don’t want Politics influencing how our local Police service is run they also have genuine concerns about how the national Government is making budget cuts of 20% to Staffordshire Police. What concerns people on the doorstep is that a Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner would only do what his masters in Whitehall tell him to do rather than putting the needs of Staffordshire first. The Conservatives are quite clear that the Police force should be treated like a business as opposed to a public service. Although I agree that the Police could be run more efficiently I don’t agree that it should be at the expense of public safety. So please anyone reading this who is eligible to vote on Thursday 15th November I urge you exercise democratic right in support of JOY GARNER.
Kidsgrove could swing this whole election in favour of Joy!
I am writing to tell you why I endorse Joy Garner to be our first ever Police Crime Commisioner and why she will be the right choice for Kidsgrove.
I have had the opportunity to work with Joy over the years and I believe she has the experience to take Staffordshire Police forward in these difficult times. Joy who is a City Councillor and lives in Tunstall knows how our local policing works here in North Staffordshire. She has served on the Police authority for a considerable amount of time and has been known to ask the difficult questions. Joy has a plan for a safer and stronger Staffordshire:
- Keep Police Community Support officers who provide vital support to Police officers in protecting neighbourhoods.
- Protect Neighbourhood Policing Teams who work tirelessly to keep our streets and communities safe.
- Stop the Government privatising the Police by ensuring all frontline services are held accountable by communities and not profit hungry shareholders.
- Keep Politics out of the Police by respecting the decisions of the Chief Constable and not interfering.
Joy has been backed by many local people and politicians including:
- Leader of Newcastle Borough Council, Councillor Gareth Snell
- Cabinet Member for Community Safety, Councillor Tony Kearon
- Joan Walley MP
- Kidsgrove Labour Party
- All Kidsgrove Newcastle Borough Councillors (12 Ward Councillors)
One thing to remember when your voting – The Conservative candidate Matthew Ellis lives in South Staffordshire and wont know how our local Police teams work in Kidsgrove. Think whats best for our town, Vote Joy Garner on Thursday 15th November for Staffordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner.
To get Joy’s view on things please visit: http://joygarner.co.uk/
You can also follow Joy on Twitter: @button1001
Councillor Kyle Robinson