Hertfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner.  
Commissioner's Office: 01707 806100
National and Local
I have found myself flitting between Herts and London this week.
 
I started the week getting involved in some very valuable discussions on nationally led reforms to the way that offenders are managed and rehabilitated. Later in the week I had two sessions with other Police and Crime Commissioners - first meeting the country’s most senior judges and then getting together to work out how we can ensure local Commissioners have a big voice in other national reforms.
 
Though my first duty is always to this county, these national links are important – and are good for Hertfordshire.
 
Many of my proposals, laid out in ‘Everybody’s Business’ the Police and Crime Plan for Herts, are things that we can get on and do in this county. But some require national change. I want to put the people of Hertfordshire in the driving seat when it comes to how their money is spent on the fight against crime. I already oversee spending on policing and on crime prevention and will be starting to manage victim support funding shortly, but there are large areas where resources would be better used if they were controlled locally. These include the funding for the rehabilitation of offenders and potentially the resources that go into preventing and tackling youth crime. 
 
In my speech on Monday I argued for greater local control of what happens after people have been through the courts, at an event where national business, government and public sector leaders got together to discuss reforms to the Probation Service. I suggested that Police and Crime Commissioners are uniquely placed to bring together local agencies to work together on rehabilitating offenders.
 
It seems that some of my ideas are getting through. For instance, I was interested to note that my ‘offender pays’ proposals were mirrored in announcements from the Ministry of Justice this week.
 
Justice Secretary Chris Grayling this week announced changes to the law to enable convicted criminals’ cars to be sold to pay back for the costs of their legal bills. These ideas have a strong link to the proposals that I first aired in January - that it is offenders, rather than the public, who should foot the bill for crime.
 
It seems only right that people who are convicted of crime, especially where they have denied guilt and forced victims to go through the pain of a trial (at great cost to the public purse) should be paying their way. If we can force the sale of assets to make this happen more swiftly, then that is another useful weapon in the fight against crime.
 
Though national change and energy is needed for some of my plans, my ‘Offender Pays’ programme is already being taken forward in a number of ways locally. Probation Service staff are working with my office to establish paid rehabilitation courses (building on the success of Speed Awareness training) that aim to change behaviour and address impulsiveness and violence.  I am working with the Home Office to expand the range of cases the police can prosecute directly. This will speed up the criminal justice process, provide better outcomes for victims as well as enabling the constabulary to recoup some of the costs of crime. And for those who don’t, or can’t, pay their way, I will be creating the means for them to pay in kind, as well as engaging a private sector partner to help recover money owed.