Funding from central Government is fixed, consequently the only way to stem the loss of officers and PCSOs, and to actually start increasing instead of decreasing overall numbers, is to make savings within the existing funding allocation.
The following is how I believe the West Midlands police can start making considerable savings, and consequently we can get the additional ‘Bobbies on the Beat’ that everyone (other than criminals) wants :
i) Learn from the experiences of other forces in the UK, don’t trial things that have already been trialed elsewhere !
– use of lapel cameras is already widespread in the Met in London, yet West Mids have just spent a considerable amount of tax-payer money trialing them, why ?
Dorset police have already implemented a very easy to use hand held recording system called Searchlight, UK police forces should be learning from each other, not duplicating effort and wasting money.
ii) Use Common Sense not Consultants,
– current PCC David Jamieson frequently spends large amounts of money employing expensive consultants, seemingly to help him make just about every decision.
Mr Jamieson has commissioned a team in Manchester University to tell him how to reduce ‘unconscious bias’ in the predominantly white West Midlands force (‘unconscious bias’ against non-white members of the public)
Unconscious bias can be reduced by recruiting more officers from ethnic communities (a recent recruitment drive saw just one black officer taken on, from a total of 162, resolve this and stop wasting money on expensive Consultants)
iii) Work from ‘the ground up’, and not ‘Commisisions / Inquiry-down’,
– current PCC likes to commission Inquiries or Commissions to ‘look into things’, with lots of people, and inevitably taking a long time to do anything, or even make any recommendations, if they ever do (Chilcot-style)
Scrap these, and use the money saved to sponsor and support Community-led projects, very often the people being affected by crime have the best ideas how to reduce or prevent it, this is the best place to focus attention and funding, police, council workers, voluntary or not-for-profits groups can then be brought in when needed. ‘Action not talk…’
iv) Use zero-tolerance in crime hotspots,
– sadly we will probably never have the resources to introduce ‘zero tolerance’ across the West Midlands, but we can use it in crime hotspots to clear up specific local problems. Even with current very low numbers of officers numbers, this tactic could be used far more often and more successfully than it has been under Mr Jamieson.
v) ‘Back office services’ do not need to be provided by police staff,
– many of these could be updated and improved, unnecessary paperwork cut out, and officers’ time freed up to get back out on to the streets, and into the communities again.
I have the background and experience to direct and oversee this, and to make sure that is done at the smallest cost, I won’t be needing to call in yet another set of very expensive consultants, it will happen quickly, simply, and smoothly.
vi) Reduce the size of the PCC team,
– currently there are 31 people working in the PCC team for the West Midlands, taking just under £2 million out of the West Midlands PCC’s total budget, far too many people, costing far too much money.
I believe that this could be reduced to 13, producing a saving of at least £500,000 every year.
If I were to be elected on May 5th, the new PCC team would be reduced down to the following personnel only :
Police and Crime Commissioner: 1, Chief Exec: 1, Legal and finance: 2, Contracts: 1, Audit/scrutiny: 2, Communications: 1, Project management: 2, Admin suppt: 3
A number of the above positions may also be downgraded where appropriate.
I would personally only take half of the £100,000 annual salary for the role,
– ALL savings from the above would be put back into the financing of additional officers and PCSOs.
I believe that anyone who puts themselves forward to perform the role of Police & Crime Commissioner… should be doing so because they have a passion to make the West Midlands a safer and better place to live and work,
– and not because they will pick up a huge salary.
I have this passion.
These are just initial plans, once in office I am certain many more could be identified and implemented,
All funds saved would be ploughed back into either additional officers/PCSOs, or into supporting community-led initiatives, many of which are already in place, and which will have an immediate effect in reducing crime.