I AM Paul Gleeson and I’m a councillor in Boston where I have lived for 10 years.
A common theme of the concerns raised as I campaign and meet with people, is how policing no longer meets or listens to local needs. Nobody talks to me about murder, fraud or robbery; they are concerned about the issues that affect them every day, anti-social behaviour, rough sleeping, drunks keeping them awake at night, vandalism, and people urinating in the streets. Whilst the police rightly have to deal with serious crime, it is this steady stream of anti-social behaviour that makes all our lives a misery. Many of these concerns were highlighted during the inquiry carried out in Boston as to the impact of population change on the town, an inquiry which I vice-chaired.
If the new role of Police and Crime Commissioner is to be a success and be more than just a revamp of the existing system with the same establishment in control, just with different titles, it is essential that the PCC sets up structures that enables communities, at the most local level, to be actively involved in the way where they live is policed. This has to be much more than a token listening exercise, people want more than just being listened to, they want to be heard. They want to have the confidence that their concerns will be taken seriously and that any future police plan will start to address those issues. In this exercise the PCC must be open and inclusive and truthful about the limitations, especially of resources, that exist. The PCC must also ensure that all, not just the loudest voices are heard.
I am convinced that by working closely with communities, especially as they see that their input is being heard and is making a difference, supporting our police officers in their really tough job of keeping us all safe, we can make the county a better and safer place to live. I am fully committed to this approach to the role as I am convinced it will improve policing and reduce crime.
One of the big challenges for any PCC will be engagement with young people who often have little or no representation on local bodies; I believe we should explore the possibility of creating a young police and crime commissioner to champion young people engagement with the police.
I will deliver a policing plan that:
l defends frontline services
l equally addresses the differing needs of our rural and urban communities
l protects victims and witnesses
l enables local people to work actively with the police to ensure communities are safe and secure
l helps build a sense of public respect and solidarity
l lets the police keep up with modern technology
l is open to adopting new professional methods and ideas.
l maintains a fully functional police station with custody suite in central Lincoln
l scrutinises thoroughly G4S’ involvement in the policing of the county
l maintains protection for wildlife