My guest blogger today is Lord Willy Bach, Police and Crime Commissioner for the County I've called my home for the last 37 years: Leicestershire.
Lord Bach has lived in the City and County for over 40 years. Following a high profile career in both criminal justice and public service, he brings valuable experience to his role as PCC for Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.
He was a criminal law barrister, prosecuting and defending at the Leicester Bar for 25 years. He was an elected Councillor on both Leicester City and Harborough District Councils.
During this time he served a term as Mayor of Lutterworth. Created a Labour life peer in 1998, he has served as a Justice Minister and more recently as Shadow Attorney General and Shadow Legal Aid Minister, a role he resigned upon his election as PCC.
Other Parliamentary appointments include Parliamentary Under-Secretary at DEFRA and the Ministry of Defence.
Married, with three children, he lives near Lutterworth.
Police & Crime Commissioners (PCCs) are elected by the public for a term of four years holding the Chief Constable and the force to account, effectively making the police answerable to the communities they serve. They are non-operational, but responsible for providing an overall strategic view of policing, and proactively promoting equality and diversity.
PCCs aim to ensure the public and communities of which they serve are listened to and their needs are met as effectively as possible, by improving local relationships through building trust and confidence. We work in partnership across a range of agencies at local and national level to ensure there is a unified approach to preventing and reducing crime.
Under the terms of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011, PCCs must:
- secure an efficient and effective police for their area;
- appoint the Chief Constable, hold them to account for running the force, and if necessary dismiss them;
- set the police and crime objectives for their area through a police and crime plan;
- set the force budget and determine the precept;
- contribute to the national and international policing capabilities set out by the Home Secretary; and
- bring together community safety and criminal justice partners, to make sure local priorities are joined up.
I was elected as the Police and Crime Commissioner for Leicestershire on the 5th May 2016. As part of my role and responsibility I introduced the Police and Crime Plan 2017-2021 which sets out the priority areas on which I continue to focus on during my term of office. The plan identifies five key strands called ‘The Five V’s’ which is overarched by the ‘Three Ps’; Prevention, Partnership and Protection.
- Victim Services
- Vulnerability Protection
- Visible Policing
- Viable Partnerships
- Value for Money
These key strands include specific areas of focus such as alcohol and drug-related crime, Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE), domestic abuse, hate crime, human trafficking and modern day slavery, and mental health.
To read more about the Police and Crime Plan please Click Here.
My responsibilities as PCC include facilitating effective partnerships to reduce crime in our communities, and commissioning appropriate support services for victims of crime. A percentage of the funding allocated to me is utilised for existing partnership priorities and investments in emerging priority areas such as Mental Health and Knife Crime.
I have a prevention fund application form and guidance notes available on the PCC website for local groups and third sector organisations to apply for funding Click Here.
It is important to me that I spend valuable time within the local communities meeting members of the public whom I am here to serve as Commissioner, listening to their issues and concerns face to face. Therefore one of my key activities within my role is to run engagement events such as ‘What Matters To You’ and ‘Patch Walks’ enabling me to understand and review the needs and concerns of individuals, communities, and support services. Thus ensuring that the priorities are appropriate, deliverable, and effective, and that prevention, partnership and protection is at the forefront of the service I provide.
I am privileged to be the main sponsor for the Leicester Mercury Heroes of Leicester Awards in July, which recognises members of the community who have made an outstanding contribution in their role, or service provided, and provides an opportunity to commend and celebrate their achievements.
I am proud of the continued service the force provides to the people of Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland, with officers putting their own safety at risk to protect the public on a daily basis, and therefore I would like to highlight a few significant recent achievements:
- Knife sweeps in Loughborough and Leicester resulted in weapons being seized and arrests made during anti knife crime campaign.
- The proactive and cohesive partnership work demonstrated at the explosion on Hinckley Road, with colleagues from Local Authority, Emergency Services, and the local community.
Leicestershire Police has made good progress in the Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) assessment 2017, making significant changes to improve the overall quality of service it provides for victims of crime, particularly those who are vulnerable. Officers have been recognised with having the appropriate skills, knowledge and understanding to identify and protect vulnerable people within the community.
Leicestershire’s Chief Constable Simon Cole (pictured here with me) has accepted my offer to run the county’s force for the next five years. Simon is, quite frankly, an inspirational chief constable, respected throughout the force, my own office, our many partners and indeed across the whole of Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland. Not only has he steered Leicestershire Police safely through some choppy waters in order to meet the harsh savings targets resulting from austerity measures, but he has overseen a significant and effective change programme modernising the way in which the force delivers police services.
He is also a strong champion of diversity and is determined that the police should be representative of the many communities I serve.
You can follow the OPCC and keep up to date with our work and engagement events, on Twitter (https://twitter.com/LeicsPCC) and Facebook.
The next What Matters To You event is taking place on July 9th, between 1.30 and 3.30 p.m. at the Co Op Store in Earl Shilton. So please come along and have a chat.
LORD WILLY BACH