Congratulations, Commissioner – well done!
The blur of praise and well-wishes may be getting a bit much now, or you still may be in the psychological state of euphoria. Good job you have a few days to get over it then as, formally, you have to wait till next Thursday before you take up the reins. We both know that’s not going to happen.
Everyone is praising your abilities as a winner, and there is, after all, plenty of evidence of that. However, there are many out there who look at you like cartoon Tom looks at cartoon Jerry, as their next meal.
I don’t merely mean they want to have you for breakfast, though that is true. I mean that you are now a very important person. You may not be the most important person in the world but, for some people, you are the most important person in their world, and you are where their next and every meal comes from, whether they be cops, former police authority staff, PCSOs, police civilians, or a range of partners and voluntary groups who are after your coin.
Many will now be seeking to be your new best friend, not least of which will be the Chief Constable or the Chief Executive of the Police Authority. The most proficient of these will get you to believe it, and slowly augment your priorities with their own.
You need help. So get your own, be that a political Deputy or, alternatively, someone you can trust! I was told earlier in the campaign that Labour candidates without police experience were being urged to find a Deputy with some. I reported it, not as a criticism, but as sound advice. And recently I heard an anonymous senior Conservative figure give this advice for new PCCs on what they needed to sort out before anything else – “get a personal adviser, a clever and able person to help you – you can’t be in the room alone.”
In London, the Principle Advisor role falls to Blair Gibbs, and the Mayor and Deputy Mayor for Policing have appointed other part-time Advisors so they have loyal specialist advice when they need it. Others may chose a consultancy arrangement. It’s not something you can do on the cheap, but it will be worth every penny.
The last thing you can afford to do is to be enveloped by the existing system, and ‘go native’. Because, if you are to be anything at all, you cannot be the system. You are the change.