Reducing crime is the first part of Darryl Preston’s six-point plan to #GetCrimeCut in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough...
By recruiting more police officers to tackle violence, burglary and anti-social behaviour, we will make Cambridgeshire and Peterborough safer places to live and work.
...and thereby the fear of crime, must be the priority of the police.
It’s certainly my priority, which is why I launched #GetCrimeCut as my campaign theme to highlight the importance of reducing crime rather than only reacting afterwards.
From 1985 to 2015 I was a serving police officer – first in uniform in the Met and, from 1998 in Cambridgeshire, initially in uniform before becoming a detective.
Most of my time as a police officer, both in uniformed and detective roles, was spent fighting crime, from theft to homicide. I recall at my initial interview being asked ‘why do you want to join the police?’. I replied: ‘I want to catch criminals, help victims and keep people safe.’
My motivation for wanting to be your Police and Crime Commissioner remains the same.
More police officers
According to the latest Crime Survey of England and Wales, last year overall crime fell by 9% nationally.* This is good news, and if elected my number one priority is to see crime continues to be reduced, especially in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. It is the best way of keeping people safe.
From my experience I know the key to reducing crime is to have more police officers – more boots on the ground, frontline and detectives – to deter, detect and prevent. This is far more effective than just responding to one reported crime after another.
Cambridgeshire constabulary recruited 99 more police officers in 2020 and with the government’s announcement of 20,000 national uplift in police numbers*, if elected I will ensure we get many more.
There is more that can be done
The police spend far too much time dealing with matters that are not crime related.
They are often used as ‘the emergency service of last resort’, dealing with issues such as mental health and social care, things that, frankly, other agencies should be dealing with.
I know this because I have first-hand experience of managing mentally unwell people in police cells – this is simply not right. Those suffering from mental health should be dealt with by health professionals, leaving the police to fight crime.
As we grow, so should the police force
Cambridgeshire and Peterborough continues to be one of the fastest growing areas in the country with an expected population growth of a further 25% by 2031.*
Unfortunately, the formula to allocate the central grant to our county for policing is archaic and unfair, which successive governments have failed to address.
Cambridgeshire constabulary gets a bad deal: the constabulary makes up about 1% of the national police spend and according to the force, we lose out by about £6m a year.
Together with the national recruitment drive, this would pay for at least 200 new officers – reducing crime and keeping us safe everywhere.
Policing for your priorities
Having spoken to local residents and policed all over our county, I am very aware our local communities have differing crime priorities.
Some crimes, such as house burglary – an abhorrent crime – and vehicle offences are, unfortunately, felt in all areas; other crimes, including agricultural theft and hare coursing, impact more on our rural areas.
And in our towns and cities anti-social behaviour, robbery, drugs, knife crime and serious violence are all too common.
But crime is crime, whether inflicted on an individual or a business. Stealing from shops, violence and intimidation of staff and many other ‘business crime’ types are totally unacceptable.
I will also be setting local priorities by listening to local communities and acting on your concerns.
If elected I will...
1. With the national police officer uplift, make resources available to the Chief Constable to increase police numbers significantly.
2. Work with our MPs to get a fairer central government policing grant paying for even more police officers.
3. Hold the Chief Constable to account for reducing overall crime in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.
4. Listen to local communities and set local crime fighting priorities.
5. Work with local businesses and partners to reduce business crime.
6. Work with partners to ensure the police only have to deal with policing matters.
Darryl Preston is the Conservative candidate in the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Police and Crime Commissioner election in May 2021. There's more about Darryl on the About Darryl Preston page.