PCC marks One Year in office

Merseyside / November 14

Today marks one year since Jane Kennedy was elected as the first ever Police and Crime Commissioner of Merseyside.

Today marks one year since Jane Kennedy was elected as the first ever Police and Crime Commissioner of Merseyside.

The Commissioner marked the milestone by participating in a national event in London yesterday, Thursday, November 14th where she gave a speech on victims’ services.

The ‘One Year On’ event organised by the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners saw Commissioners from across the country gather together to reflect on the year and discuss how they can maintain and increase public confidence in policing. Another key area of discussion was police integrity.

The Commissioner will be participating in a one-and-a-half hour phone in on BBC Merseyside today when listeners from across Merseyside can ask her any questions on policing or community safety.

Jane said: “It’s been an incredibly busy and challenging year, but it has also been hugely rewarding.

“I’ve really enjoyed getting out and listening to the views of a really wide cross section of people and organisations across Merseyside.

“The officers and staff of Merseyside Police do a fantastic job sometimes in extremely difficult circumstances. The Force already has a really positive reputation across the region and I see my role as helping them to sustain the effective and excellent service they already provide.”

Despite the relatively low turnout at the polls last year, former Labour MP Jane took more than 56% of the vote, meaning nearly 71,000 turned out on a dark November night in her support. Her nearest rival, Conservative candidate Geoff Gubb came second with just 12.6% of the vote.

Despite sharing some of the scepticism of voters, Jane decided if PCCs were to become a reality, she was in a strong position to make the work role given her experience as Security Minister in Northern Ireland and her time as a Merseyside MP.

Very quickly after being elected, Jane took the decision to streamline and relocate her own office in order to immediately save £800,000 from the budget. This has also resulted in a year-on-year saving of £700,000 which has been put straight back into the police budget - protecting vital frontline officers and also enabling the Force to recruit for the first time in nearly three years.

Jane said: “It was absolutely essential to me that I maintained the number of officers patrolling the streets of Merseyside. I took the decision that I could reduce the cost of my own office to make this happen.

“The resumption of recruitment programmes is essential to maintaining morale within the Force and reassuring the public and I am proud to say that under my term officers are once again being recruited to serve the people of Merseyside.”

Further achievements from Jane’s first year in office include:

  • Crime has continued to fall in Merseyside – for the seventh year running, overall recorded crime in the region dropped. According to official Government statistics, crime fell by 2.8% in the 12 months to June 2013.
  • The creation of a pan-Merseyside Community Safety Partnership. This organisation maximises the impact of scarce resources and ensures a consistent and effective approach to community safety partnership.
  • Engaging directly with young people both by creating a Youth Advisory Group and by supporting ‘The Terriers’. Powerful play ‘The Terriers’ has been seen by 50,000 young people across Merseyside and sends out a stark message about the danger of getting involved with gangs and guns
  • Chairing the highly effective Merseyside Criminal Justice Board which builds strong relationships with a wide range of criminal justice partners. This cooperation enables Jane and her partners to monitor the performance of the whole criminal justice system with a genuine openness.

Jane said: “Over the last year, I have forged strong, real partnerships with a whole range of agencies and organisations. By working in cooperation, we can all work more efficiently and cost effectively at a time when budget cuts are having a devastating impact on many of our community safety partners.”

But the Commissioner also warned of the potential dangers ahead if the Government proceeds with its austerity measures.

Jane said: “If the Government continues with these ill-conceived budget cuts there is a real danger that Merseyside Police will not be able to continue to deliver the same level of service to the communities it serves and ultimately crime could rise.”

Watch Jane speak live from the APCC’s event in London between 10pm and 1.30pm

Read Jane's speech