Friday, 16 November 2012

Results due today

The results from yesterday's Police and Crime Commissioner election on Merseyside will be announced later today.

The votes get counted from 9 30 am this morning.

I am  not sure how long it will take to get a result, but from what I saw at polling stations yesterday, there aren't a huge number of votes to count.

Thank you to everyone who has supported me.  I think this is a really important job,and if I am not successful I really hope it will go to someone who can give it the time and the focus it will need.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Debates - we need more!

A gentleman phoned me today to say he would have loved to come to a debate but there wasn't one he could get to that was near enough to him.

And because this election has been and felt a bit last minute, some of the hustings have been organised at breakneck speed too.

And yet there have been more hustings in this election than I remember in any General Election I have taken part in.  Considerably more.

But clearly there have not been enough and the geographical spread hasn't worked.

I think this is a case where parties will need in future to work together to make sure there are hustings in each part of the sub region and that there are enough, at varied times, to give everyone a chance to come along.

I spoke to Labour and the Conservatives last night to say that next time this election is fought we need to co operate to make sure there is a good spread of opportunties.

I think the people organising the hustings, including Concept PR, the Chamber of Commerce and the South Central Active Forum, have been great in the way they have taken the initiative.

But its still left us with gaps and it was too late to fill those gaps.

Memo to self and others.. need to do better next time!

Debate last night

Thanks to the South Central Active Forum (Liverpool) for organising the candidates' debate at the Kuumba Imani Centre.

I thought it was a really well run event and really did give people a chance to ask a range of questions.

Well done and thanks to the team.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Liverpool Debate Society

Congratulations to everyone at the Liverpool University Debate Society for organising such a  well run candidate's hustings last night.

It was great to see so many students who knew about the election and were keen to discuss the issues.

More visible policing

You'll never have a policeman standing on every street corner and it would feel a bit odd if you did.

But many people say that they want the police to be more visible.  It's part of helping communities feel safe but it's also part of the police re inforcing their role.

I've been posting various items from my manifesto and today I am briefly focusing on this aspect - visibility of policing.

The police already hold meetings in communities.  And the PCSOs near me do a good job of turning up at events like fun days and running stalls.

But there must be a lot more that can be done simply to increase the visibility, and therefore easy accessibility of the police.

We all know the places in our communities where there is "high footfall" - that is there is a lot of people coming and going.  These are ideal locations for regular police "counters" where people can come and raise things, see their local bobby and make appointments if  they need to.  Yet this doesn't seem to happen that often.

Obviously you can't start discussing something sensitive, or sharing someone's private details, in the frozen food aisle at the Co op (!) but you can have other conversations, and these are the sort of conversations that both help communities be and feel safer and help the police in their work.

If elected I'll want to encourage this sort of approach to get the most out of the police/public interaction.

Let's face it, until they invent time travel we can all only be in one place at one time.  That's why its important the polcie make that one place count!

Friday, 9 November 2012

Manifesto posts

I said I would post my manifesto details on this blog over a period of time rather than have a huge block of text.

I have published some already so here are the links to topics chosen so far. (Because of a tech glitch I have republished these links which were'nt workingn the other day.)


Hate Crime

Getting people's views

Late Night levy and extra funds

Fear of Crime

Full time Job

More visible policing

More posts are coming an I will also add them to this list. 

Debates coming up

There are two debates next week which are open to the public (the first one is ticketed because of numbers)

On Monday (12th) evening Liverpool University's debate society plays host to a hustings. (Details are on the society's website which you can find here.)

And on Tuesday the Kuumba Imani centre on Princes Road does the same.

The Debate Society event, which is the ticketed one, is due to start at 6 30.

The Kuumba Imani centre event starts around 7pm.

Al Ghazali centre debate

I very much enjoyed joining others at the Al Ghazali centre for a candidate's debate yesterday.

There wasn't a massive turnout but in a way that was better as we had a real chance to have a real discussion with real questions.

I was pleased to be able to say more about my priority of dealing with "hate crime".  We have to find ways of tackling this sort of crime, which means people become victims just because of who they are and the fact that they are different.  This in turn means acknowledging that it exists.

Thanks again to all at the Al Ghazali for kindly organising the evening.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Going to be away on polling day?

If you have just realised you'll be away on polling day, but haven't got a postal vote, you can get a proxy vote (that's one where someone else goes for you)

The deadline though to have the form in is today (7th November)

You can download and print off a form at this link

Full time job

I was surprised, at a debate the other day, to be asked whether I would do the Police and Crime Commissioner job as a full - time role.

To be honest I hadn't realised that anyone would think it was anything but.

Looking at the rules however, I can see that there are provisions for people to do the work part-time.

I want to be absolutely clear about this.  If I am elected I will be a full- time Police and Crime Commissioner.

In fact, given what I have said about surgeries and meetings, I suspect I would be a more than full time PCC.

This is not to say that there aren't other elected positions that can be combined with working. I believe quite strongly that local Councillors should also do other things for example.

But there is no way anyone could be Police and Crime Commissioner without committing to it full time.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Voting by post

If you vote by post, you should get your ballot paper in the next few days (if you didn't already receive it on Saturday)

I've been asked several times now about the slightly unusual way of voting.

In this election you have two votes - a first choice and a second. 

You don't put a 1 and 2 though.

There are two columns so you put an X in your first choice column next to whoever is your first choice and an X in your second choice column  next to whoever is your second.

You don't have to have a second choice if you don't want to.

And it's important to realise that your second choice won't cancel out your first.

The way it works is that all the first choice votes are counted up.

If someone has more than 50 percent, they are elected.

If they don't, the top two people stay in the ballot and the second choices of all the other ballot papers get counted. 

Postal votes have to come back by 15th November.  You can take yours to a polling station if you forget to post it in time.

Friday, 2 November 2012

Are we under "house arrest"

I said that rather than publish my manifesto as a big block of text, I would post a different bit every day.

Today I want to talk about the fear of crime.

Crime is going down.  That is a statistical fact.  It went down last year too.  Another statistical fact.

The question is, do we feel safer?

And the answer I get from people is that actually many of us are still afraid.

And if you are afraid of crime to the extent that you don't go out much, you might as well be under house arrest.

That's why for me, dealing with the fear of crime is so vital.

Now it's not an easy thing to do.  I remember as a child being frightened of something and it taking quite some time to get over it.

But we must give more confidence to our residents and our communities.

This problem can't be solved overnight.  But I want to work with people, organisations and communities to look at how we can conquer the fear.

This might be target hardening things, like the successful Lib Dem led alleygating programme in Liverpool.

It definitely is about making the police more visible and more accessible. 

And its also about finding ways of working with those groups who might, accidentally, be causing the fear.

But make no mistake, for me, tackling this fear is vital and I will want an intense focus on how we deal with it.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Housing and its links to crime

I came across this really interesting blog from Shelter today.

Shelter is a charity focusing on homelessness and housing.

The links between having somewhere secure to move into and risk of re offending are clearly significant.

Do have a read, it is real food for thought.

You can find it at this link.

The Late Night Levy and other new powers.

Rather than posting a load of text all at once, I am blogging about my manifesto one item at a time.

So I am focusing on a different topic each day.

Some of these things will not be on the Home Office site as the 300 words allowed was simply not enough!

Today I am focusing on two new powers that came into effect yesterday.  Both are about dealing with crime and anti social behaviour caused by alcohol misuse.

The Co alition Government has given local Councils the power to prevent early morning alcohol sales in particularly troubled areas, and to charge a fee to some businesses that sell alcohol late at night and in the early morning.

The point of the early morning measure (Early Morning Alcohol Restriction Order) is that where there is an area that is demonstrably affected by crime and anti social behaviour because of the alcohol sales, a council can step in and restrict the sales.  This is obviously a step of last resort but in neighourhoods that are plagued by this problem it could be the last step that needs to be taken.

The point of the Late Night Levy is to accept that there are extra costs (policing and enforcement) linked to alcohol being sold late at night.  If a Council decides to use the levy, the money goes partly to help pay for enforcement but also partly to help pay for policing. (There are quite a few exemptions - like Business Improvement Districts and Councils can decide on discounts etc so that it is not a one size fits all policy)

In each case the Council has to decide whether to start using the power.

As far as I can see, none of the Councils have taken the decision to use the power(s) yet (although Liverpool has at least discussed it)  but if I am elected I will be keen to see all local authorities on Merseyside using the Late Night Levy power and being prepared to use, as a last resprt, the Early Morning Restriction power.

This isn't about stopping people having fun.  I like a drink myself.

But there are clearly social and crime related costs to alcohol sales very late at night or in the early morning and its only fair that these costs are recognised and met.

And responsible businesses tend to recognise this.