I am delighted and humbled to have been elected as the Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex. It is an important role, with significant responsibilities that I will seek to exercise with integrity on behalf of everyone in our county. Every day, the men and women of Essex Police work with real professionalism and tireless enthusiasm to keep our communities safe, regularly risking their own lives on our behalf. I aim to spend time meeting police officers, PCSOs and police staff and learning as much as possible about the excellent work they do and the challenges they face.
Voter turnout has doubled since the first PCC election in 2012, providing a real democratic mandate. I will continue to engage with the people of Essex, listening to their views and concerns, to ensure that Essex Police understands and responds to the needs of the communities they serve. During the next few weeks, I will be preparing a Police and Crime Plan for Essex, which will help set the strategic direction of Essex Police.
This will be based on my key manifesto pledges:
1) Crack down on Anti-Social Behaviour
2) Be tough on Domestic Violence
3) Reverse the trend in serious violent crime
4) Tackle gangs and organised crime
5) Make Essex Police more local, visible, and accessible
To deliver these priorities, I will work closely with Chief Officers to drive the modernisation of the force. We must ensure that our police have good technology to enable them to complete tasks whilst out in our communities, remaining visible and accessible to local people. We will also be aiming to double the size of the Special Constabulary, ensuring Specials are fully integrated members of our policing teams out and about across Essex. With my background as a County and District Councillor, I will also seek to re-invigorate partnership working with councils, with some excellent third sector organisations and with fantastic groups of volunteers such as Neighbourhood Watch and Street Pastors.
The biggest single challenge is the financial envelope within which we work. I am delighted that the Chancellor was able to provide financial stability for policing for the next four years in his Autumn statement, but we still need to make the best use of limited resources. I hope to develop a plan for closer collaboration between Essex Police and Essex County Fire and Rescue Service by this autumn, enabling our emergency services to work closely together both in responding to critical incidents and in providing key prevention advice helping people to keep themselves safe from harm.
We will also continue to develop a plan for making the best use of police stations, ensuring we’re not wasting money on repairing old buildings and using the proceeds of sales to help deliver the technological infrastructure that a Twenty First Century police force needs. As part of the estate strategy, we will explore a hub and spoke model, and the potential for a shared Police and Fire headquarters at Kelvedon.
My predecessor, Nick Alston, laid strong foundations and I hope to continue and build on his work as your Police and Crime Commissioner.
Roger Hirst, Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex