Herts crime czar sets out his plans for year ahead

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Herts police and crime commissioner David Lloyd writes about the challenges ahead in 2013:

A full month into my new role as police and crime commissioner, my thoughts are firmly focused on the future – and particularly on my first police and crime plan which will provide the blueprint for policing and crime in this county.

My plans are coming together, as I will outline, but I want to know what you think too.

Victims of crime are too often forgotten as the bureaucratic wheels of the criminal justice system turn.

A greater focus on them during the court process is essential but also a continuing effort when the court case is over and sentence has been passed.

I have heard from victims who have to face their assailant on a daily basis. There must be ways to help survivors of crime to escape this continued anguish and to make the system work for them.

Too many communities in the county have to deal with dangerous driving near their homes, schools and playgrounds.

I was heartened to see the actions taken by residents in rural parts of the county to set up a community speed watch that has slowed traffic in those villages.

These schemes need to be expanded and supported by targeted enforcement action by the police.

If communities are concerned about dangerous driving then we must help them to respond and provide the means to call in direct support from the police, too.

Those who commit offences should be punished in the pocket – this could mean paying the full costs of removing and storing vehicles, or paying the ‘hotel bill’ for a stay in the cells.

Speed awareness courses are proven to have a real impact on future behaviour but those who take them should pay the full cost for them.

And the principle of ‘offender pays’ could be taken further still for other types of crime.

I also want to see a concerted attack on criminal assets, ploughing these back into services for decent people.

Rehabilitation of offenders appears to focus on the wrong people at times.

Victims should have a greater say about what happens to those that cause damage or injury to them.

More victim and public voices should be heard in deciding how behaviour is dealt with and how offenders pay back for crime.

Everyone will remember 2012 for the Olympics and the spirit demonstrated by the volunteers who gave their time willingly to help others.

I would like to capture that spirit in a wide variety of ways. I hope that we can introduce an expansion of special constables across the county.

For those who do not want to don a uniform there must be other ways, such as reviewing CCTV evidence, in order to keep our officers on the streets.

In addition, I am sure that we can improve the way that we use the intelligence that the public provides.

You can be the eyes and ears of the police. In turn, the police need to ensure that they act on what you tell them in order to attack criminality.

I also want to see businesses playing their part. Sponsoring initiatives such as speed watch, or providing CCTV are all things that I feel are widely untapped in this county.

We could apply some more business sense in most areas of policing and community safety.

I am a big fan of Hertfordshire Constabulary. When a crime is committed their record of attending the scene and their investigation is possibly the best in the country.

However, once they have left, victims can feel forgotten, even though efforts continue to catch the offenders. This has to be improved.

If I can track my purchases online then you should be able to keep up to date with the progress of your investigation.

The community safety world with its many partners, including local authorities, has no shortage of innovation – what it appears to lack is co-ordination.

If I do nothing else next year a serious attempt to bring partners together to make better use of resources is essential.

I know that colleagues from the local authorities agree with me on this. We are already meeting monthly to take action.

My agenda is large and it will be a big challenge to achieve everything that I set out to do.

I hope that if I can provide an environment where individuals, groups and organisations can all play their part, then Hertfordshire will continue to go from strength to strength.

If my plan can set out a blueprint for keeping crime low and making sure offenders pay back, we can all continue to enjoy life in this fantastic and safe county.

You can play your part in the development of the plan, too.

I am building on district and borough council community safety priorities, and the safer neighbourhood priorities set at local level by residents and businesses with your local police and elected representatives.

David Lloyd is Hertfordshire’s new police and crime commissioner. 
You can keep up to date with his activities by visiting the website at 
www.hertscommissioner.org and follow him on Twitter at @HertsPCC