Seán Woodward is seeking the Conservative nomination to be the Police and Crime Commissioner in Hampshire. If you are intending to stand to be Police and Crime Commissioner where you live, you can submit your own Candidate Statement, so get in touch by emailing Editor@TopOfTheCops.com . Others are on the way, and we are looking for 400 words, a photo of you that you have rights to, and preferably an imprint, which will be needed for the formal election period later this year.
The main role of the Police and Crime Commissioner is to be the people’s voice and hold the Chief Constable to account. In my role on the Police Authority I was the only Conservative responsible for appointing the Chief Constable, his Deputy and his Assistant. This gives me a unique insight and strength which I would use to carry out this important role. I also have regular liaison with senior officers as well as involving myself in the accreditation of new constables and PCSOs. I am good at listening, learning and only then bringing my own views to bear. It is important to let professionals run the force and to hold them to account as necessary.
The PCC will set the priorities and budget for the force. I have been prominent in these areas for the last 7 years as the Conservative lead on Hampshire Police Authority and as the only Conservative holding elected office on the Authority as Vice Chairman of the Finance Committee. I am the Authority member responsible for guiding and overseeing the saving of £55m in the force budget for corporate support. This work is critical as it will allow diminished resources to be targeted at putting officers on the front line, not behind desks. I have experience in financial control both in my business and in running a local authority, specifically in removing deficits while preserving quality services. Doing more for less.
Public consultation and engagement is critical. I have an excellent track record of community consultation. It is important to be seen to listen and engage. It is equally important to then be able to take often difficult decisions without fear or favour. Something with which I am very well acquainted.
Finally the role of PCC is a big one. It is not something that can be done in its entirety by one person. It requires a team involving the PCC, a deputy and support staff. It would be appropriate to appoint staff to oversee the diversity of the area, e.g. someone with responsibility for oversight of rural policing as well as a staff member with special responsibility for the Isle of Wight. It is important to be able to delegate to ensure that the right elements of the role are being carried out by the right people. This is a skill in which I am well practised.