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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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Henry Smith

Henry Smith MP: Commemorating the 75th anniversary of VE Day

In his article this week Crawley MP Henry Smith talks about the 75th anniversary of VE Day.

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It is often easy to take our democratic system and values for granted. However, a look to other parts of the world provide a reminder of how important it is that we appreciate the freedoms we have.

None of which, of course, would be possible without our Armed Forces who keep us safe. Our nation has perhaps never been more threatened than during the Second World War, which resulted in Victory in Europe almost 75 years ago.

On 8th May 2020, the 75th anniversary of VE Day, events will take place across the UK to commemorate the Allied Victory in Europe and give thanks to the Second World War generation and the sacrifices they made securing peace across the continent.

I join the Prime Minister in backing the Royal British Legion’s search for people from this generation who will rightly take centre stage at the commemorations in London, which will culminate in a procession down the Mall.

Applications are open until 2nd March via the Royal British Legion’s website. I urge veterans in Crawley to look into signing up, as our nation says thank you, three quarters of a century after the end of the war.

Further details of the programme to commemorate Victory over Japan Day (VJ Day) on 15th August will be announced in due course. It is right that we use these moments of celebration to remember their sacrifice and show our gratitude.

Henry Smith MP
Crawley Constituency

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