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Peter Lamb: The reality of policing

In his latest article, the leader of Crawley Borough Council talks about police accountability.

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It has been over five years since the Police Commissioners came into existence.

The idea had been around for some time but had never made much progress as the problem it was supposed to solve, making the police accountable to communities, was already addressed by the elected councillors who made up the Police Authority. Still, scraping around for policy ideas, the Coalition Government dusted off the proposal and here we are, so no doubt you now feel the police are far more accountable to you.

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But, how do we hold the commissioners to account, I hear you ask? Well, we have a body made up of elected councillors… just like the old Police Authority… funny old world? This is a body I’ve served on before, although given the commissioner always deflected my questions by claiming they weren’t for her but rather the Chief Inspector – who reports to her, it was an uphill struggle.

Nonetheless, I read the paperwork religiously and was interested to see next Friday’s meeting will review Sussex Police’s four year Transformation Strategy. Every part of the public sector is having to undergo ‘transformation’ in order to weather austerity and it can lead to significant performance improvements. The problem for the police is that the strategy fails to explain convincingly how what is happening now will actually improve performance.

The reality is what local residents complain to me about on a regular basis. When fireworks are thrown at cars, the police lack the resources to respond. When vehicles are broken into the police lack the resources to investigate. When a visible police presence on the high street could make a difference, it is left to door supervisors to keep law and order in the town centre. That’s the ‘lived’ reality and no pie chart is going to explain it away.

Cllr Peter Lamb

Leader, Crawley Borough Council

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Opinion

Mayor Carlos Castro: Easing Crawley’s Post-Brexit fears

In his article, the Crawley Mayor talks about an event held in Broadfield to allow ‘many unanswered questions’ to be put forward to officials: providing some Post-Brexit clarity for Crawley’s Portuguese community.

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On July 14th, I had the pleasure to work with the Portuguese Consulate to bring clarity to the Portuguese community living in Crawley and surrounding areas regarding their rights Post Brexit.

There has been a lot of unanswered questions since the referendum from the Community and after taking the Mayor’s Office May 18th, bringing peace of mind to EU nationals was on top of my to do list.

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The Portuguese Consulate Officers were in attendance at the Mayor Making and coincidently they had the same idea in mind. It was that night that we started to make plans on how, where and when we could put this event together.

The event took place at the Broadfield Community Centre at 3pm. We had in attendance over 100 local residents, somehow only Labour Councillors in attendance, and a journalist reporting to the Journal de Noticias (Portuguese newspaper) and it was here that many unanswered questions were given a chance to be put forward to officials.

Sadly, within a couple of hours of this event starting, it became a political target! A Facebook post and later on the Crawley Observer, it stated that this event was being called as a way of scaring EU Nationals, that there was nothing to be afraid and called my efforts playing politics. Since when is putting your residents first a “political gain”! The role of Councillor is to help all constituents and as a human being embrace diversity.

Such statements were not only an insult to the community, but also a disrespect to the work of the Government Officials who came down from London to speak to these residents in aid of clarifying their doubts and worries.

The same way, giving someone a website to visit and fill out a complex application isn’t all that there is to getting “settled status”! Many questions referred to divorced parents, custody matters and which parent can do what, as well as how the Consulate will be or not be able to play a role in helping its Nationals with the process. We also had questions from residents who already have resident status and would they need to apply as well and those who may struggle with the language.

So telling residents that there is nothing to worry about when their own party started this, is absolutely ridiculing those who fear Post Brexit. A better man would have empathy, a better politician would have a better interest in his community.

This event was so well attended and well received by many, I now plan to put together another event where all of EU residents can attend and be offered the same opportunity to be given peace of mind. I urge everyone to share this news with your EU co-workers, neighbours, friends, family to get in touch. Together we can face this beast and keep what I call Post-Brexit fears away.

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