Police Station
Photo by Bruno Martins on Unsplash

I feel very privileged to be elected to the role of Police and Crime Commissioner for Northumbria, and proud to be a Labour & Co-operative candidate for this May’s elections. I’m standing on a platform of Fighting Crime and Preventing Crime with a plan to support our communities and tackle injustice.

Supporting retail workers is already written into my police and crime plan for the next five years. As key workers throughout the pandemic, they should feel safe at work, and the increase in violence we have seen in stores over the last year cannot be tolerated. Co-operative MSPs in Scotland have led the way in better legal protection, and the time must come for the rest of the country to follow too. Till then, I will continue to give my full support to schemes and initiatives that help raise awareness and tackle issues in the workplace.

When I was elected nearly two years ago, I was clear that my job was to oversee our police force – with the emphasis being on a force that delivered for local residents and heard their views.

This community view speaks to our co-operative values, and why over the past year, I have been listening to the views of thousands of residents on what our priorities should be to inform my local police and crime plan.

It is no surprise that neighbourhood policing came through as a top priority and having a trusted neighbourhood police officer is important to our communities. They should work collaboratively with other organisations such as local councils and residents to help keep our streets safe. Unfortunately, Northumbria has seen cuts in officer numbers – with Tory austerity costing us 1,100 officers since 2010. The government has so far only offered to replace only a third of those, which is why I have committed to going further and recruit beyond government targets.

I am also passionate about life chances for young people. I’m working with others to stop young people getting in to trouble in the first place, keeping them away from anti-social behaviour and other crimes. This is made even more difficult by huge cuts to youth services; across the country it is estimated there has been a real terms decline in funding of 70%. So as Commissioner I have been investing in life changing youth workers through the You Only Live Once project, which matches young people to footballers and other mentors, to provide positive role models for life without crime.

These are just some of the differences we can make in power, bringing our co-operative principles to the fore in a different approach to our public services rooted in our communities. The majority of Police and Crime Commissioners in England and Wales will be standing as Labour & Co-operative this May, make sure you give them your support to make the difference.