On the 14th of October the Police and Crime Commissioner along with Essex Fire and Rescue held a public meeting. Some of our members went along, as did our prospective Parliamentary Candidate Penny Richards, here’s what Penny had to say:

“Interesting evening at the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Public Meeting yesterday. Investment in policing has gone up since 2018 for which the public were thanked as this was due to council tax rises matched by government funding. Chelmsford is due to get 135 new police officers though this barely starts to cover those already cut I suspect.
Lots of questions from the floor and suggestions that rather than simply closing police stations to free up funds we should use them as community spaces.
The biggest message from community groups in the room is that the police need to listen to them more and to rely less heavily on social media as a communication tool given the amount of elderly people who do not use a computer much less a smartphone.”

Some of our members fed back their perception of the evening:

“Police, Fire and Crime commissioner Public Meeting Last night. Lots of self-congratulatory ‘pats on the back’ for all those involved. The introduction to an hour and a half hour meeting took up at least 30 mins. Then the public had their say… and a group of them had a lot to say about the lack of response to localised crime in their neighbourhoods. Chelmsford will be getting an extra 135 new ‘rookie’ officers under the new spending plans announced by the tories and a grant towards the cost of training them ….pity about the loss of experienced officers during the constant cuts over the last decade.

Good question on what was happening to all the closed local police offices which the PFCC, Roger Hirst thought to be a sensible cost saving freeing up resources for an increase in front-line resources. Didn’t respond to the point made that continuing cuts to local resources are a potential source of frustration with local people.

Another query challenged the Police use of shaming videos and a heavy reliance on WhatsApp (excluding many elderly people who don’t have computers and smart phones).

I was reassured that all the new buildings are being regularly monitored for fire safety and no cladding such as that used in the Grenfell Fire tragedy was used.”

If you would like to feed into the consultation, you can do so here: http://www.essex.pfcc.police.uk/make-a-difference?fbclid=IwAR1y0bbSCGDWFZiVV7r63khKMwF6QT6Kr8F9aJriSDXK7SCdXcHWuhnJxBE

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