Almost exactly a year to the day after he was elected as Herts’ first police and crime commissioner, David Lloyd is positive and optimistic about the scheme which has come under fire in national media for being a waste of money and doing little to extend police accountability.
A series of controversies about the project as a whole and about Mr Lloyd’s own tenure – including a disgraced deputy who resigned amid a Twitter storm and who was later replaced by a fellow Flamstead resident known to the crime czar– have done little to deter him from pursuing radical ideas including making offenders pay for the costs they incur to the police force, and a sponsorship scheme which could see businesses promoted on police cars and equipment.
The commissioner, who stood down from his seat on Dacorum Borough Council in March but retains his county role alongside the police top dog job, said: “I am most proud of the way that crime has come down so much again in the county. We have a great constabulary who are all focusing on my police and crime plan and building on the success we already have.
“It is a really important role – for the first time, the public have an opportunity to put in place someone who will reflect their views.
“I’ve got a good relationship with the chief constable – I speak to him most days and look at performance and where the constabulary is going. Herts is one of the top five performing forces in the country, so I think the relationship is working well.”
His controversial proposal to invite businesses to sponsor equipment is still on the cards despite criticism from Labour MEP for East England Richard Howitt, who said it would create a McDonald’s police force.
Mr Lloyd said: “It is happening at a low level – police cars are all Vauxhalls – so to an extent there is already some subtle sponsorship. I want to be a little more overt about it. I am not looking to create a McDonald’s force, but one thing I want to step up more is how I engage with the business community.”
Looking forward to the future and delivering on his five-year plan, Everybody’s Business, Mr Lloyd said there is more to be done to ensure policing is as effective and efficient as it can be.
He has pumped funds into police mobile data equipment including the Toughpad, which will reduce the time officers have to spend on paperwork instead of out on the streets.
He said: “The next steps are looking at how we work with our neighbours and collaborate with Beds and Cambs. Also making sure the offender pays – we are still driving through that idea – and ensuring we get better business sense, making sure mobile data and virtual courts work even better.
“We have lots to be getting on with, and it is going to be a really busy year.”