The recent Queen’s Speech and the State Opening of Parliament brought not only the traditional pomp and spectacle but some new legislation which I warmly welcome and which will directly help me to deliver my Police and Crime Plan for Hertfordshire, Everybody’s Business.
The announcement that Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) will be put in charge of commissioning services to support victims of crime will prove crucial to delivering on the Public Focus element of my five-year plan, as we strive to ensure victims receive the very best level of service.
Although Hertfordshire Constabulary is already among the best when compared with other forces, I want to aim even higher in all aspects of service delivery.
Supporting victims of crime is a key priority for me. I have already begun working with our current providers, Victim Support, to understand the needs of victims and the services already delivered, in order to develop further improvements to the care and treatment offered.
Changes announced in the speech to the Victims’ Surcharge arrangements include the removal of a magistrate’s right to add time in custody in place of a financial penalty when sentencing.
This will be a crucial means to making sure offenders pay and putting the needs of victims first which are among my key priorities.
The Community Remedy and Community Trigger which were also outlined in the speech provide a really tangible way for the public to get directly involved in reducing anti-social behaviour which is a key element of my Everybody’s Business plan.
Both help to put community safety back into the hands of the community – the ‘trigger’ ensures a police response to angoing or repeat anti-social behaviour issue and the ‘remedy’ gives the public a voice in how an offender should pay.
In addition, more powers are being handed to the police to directly lead prosecutions. This is something that I advocate in my plan and work is already under way in Hertfordshire to adopt this approach.
Where the police are the prosecuting authority this could reduce bureaucracy and they will be able to recoup the true costs of crime. Where appropriate this could include costs for a stay in the cells, which is something I am currently looking into.
The proposals regarding rehabilitation reforms received widespread news coverage. I am clear that tackling re-offending is vital in the fight to reduce crime.
Establishing supervision for recipients of short custodial sentences is a step in the right direction and something which everyone agrees needs to be done.
Keeping Hertfordshire safe is everybody’s business and I look forward to working closely with the police, local councils, health agencies, criminal justice partners and communities across Hertfordshire to continuously improve and deliver on the Plan’s four key development areas – public focus; offender pays; business sense and core policing delivery for the future.
David Lloyd is Hertfordshire’s police and crime commissioner. Contact his office on 01992 556600 or visit www.hertscommissioner.org