Michael Rosen is the Labour Party Candidate for Police & Crime Commissioner in 2021
Norfolk deserves better. Our Police have faced cuts that have undermined their ability to keep us safe. They have become more efficient, better focused and continued to do their best to protect us in the face of new demands. Despite this some communities face real challenges. We need to make sure our voice shapes the way our Police work. My first priority as a candidate will be to engage with our communities to find out what the people of Norfolk want from our Police and agree how best we can achieve it. I will work to get our Police the resources they need and hold them accountable for the way they use them. We have a great opportunity to work with our Police to make our communities better places to live for everyone. Instead of simply being policed we can create a whole community response to crime. We can reduce the social and personal cost of crime and make sure we can all have the freedom to enjoy life.
That is why I am standing as Labour candidate in the 2021 elections for Police & Crime Commissioner. We face a rogue Tory government with a huge majority and a contempt for the laws that protect us. They plan an all-out attack on local democracy, our rights to protection at work, the justice system, and the environment. They are trying to shift Police work towards a right-wing authoritarian model where we are policed without consent and our liberties restricted. To their credit our Police are resisting this shift. Now more than ever it is important we win power and use it in defence of ourselves and our communities, demonstrating capacity to govern and implementing a vision of fairness and equality that drives collective and individual success.
I have had a long career in public service, across education, social work and services for children, including my final role as Director of Children’s Services for Norfolk. My professional experience has given me the skills I will need to fight for resources and use them well, engaging our communities in decisions about how we work together to tackle crime. I have worked directly on community safety priorities including reducing youth violence, safeguarding vulnerable people, and tackling domestic abuse. I will be an effective PCC promoting Labour values and ensuring all of us are, and feel, safer. Please join me in this campaign.
Priorities for a Labour PCC
Overall Norfolk has a relatively low level of crime but some communities suffer from specific issues affecting people’s safety and quality of life. These issues include the impact of economic and other structural inequalities. Police in Norfolk do their best with limited resources but voice in agreeing priorities needs to be stronger. Our communities need to be part of the solution. We cannot allow another Tory PCC to marginalise Norfolk’s people and pursue a personal agenda avoiding public scrutiny. Especially if that agenda is to shift Policing away from trust and community consent to a them-and-us authoritarian model that impacts unfairly on poorer and vulnerable communities.
As PCC I would bring improvements in four areas
- Engaging fully with the public and our vulnerable communities. This is about listening, informing, and reaching agreement on how our Police work as part of a whole community response. It is vital in giving our communities confidence that they can have an impact on crime that affects them. Trust and effective partnerships at local level make it hard for criminals to grow their influence. Being part of a collective response that has a real impact will stop worried people turning to authoritarian solutions.
- Norfolk has a relatively low crime rate overall but there is still a need to prevent crime, especially violence, drug-related, hate crimes, and against vulnerable people. There will be a focus on safeguarding and tackling modern crimes such as internet fraud and exploitation as well as responding to traditional community concerns about property crime. We must also tackle rural crime and damage to the environment. A focus on making our public spaces and transport systems safer for all users will give us greater freedom to enjoy life.
- Responding to the impact of crime through support for victims, restorative justice and programmes to reduce reoffending. Together with reducing actual crime and by improving information that gives them a clear understanding of the risk of being a victim this will we help people feel less afraid of crime.
- Focusing on preventing crime rather than coping with the consequences. This is not just about advice on personal safety or preventing burglary. It is about strengthening our communities so that individuals make good choices, creating support to divert people at risk of becoming criminals. Communities need economic opportunities and protection not intrusive surveillance. We need inter-agency work to improve alternatives for those being groomed by criminals and address the personal and structural reasons people commit crime. Our Labour values of individual responsibility and progress through collective action to tackle inequalities will shape our distinctive response to crime.
Not all crime is dealt with by the Police. Fly-tipping and other environmental damage, health and safety at work, renters facing eviction or unsafe housing, trading standards, and safe transport for all are examples. I will work with other agencies to ensure protection for Norfolk and its people. Unmet mental health issues can lead to negative involvement with Police. I will work with our Health & Social Care services to ensure people get the care they deserve rather than a possible criminal record.
Realistically, resources will continue to be limited. Central funding may come with conditions that work against our priorities. Without increased funding from government it is down to the local precept on Council Tax to pay for the policing we want. People in Norfolk are already facing financial pressures. So it is all the more important that Police and communities work together and we have a strong voice in setting priorities.