Hertfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner.  
Commissioner's Office: 01707 806100
Getting the building blocks in place
There was much to welcome in the Queens speech this week, including new legislation which I flagged in my Police and Crime Plan as being of great support in keeping this county safe.

First, there will be change to enable me and the other Police and Crime Commissioners across England and Wales to take on new responsibilities to commission services to support victims. This kicks in next year formally but I have already begun working with current providers to understand the needs of victims and the services currently provided. This is central to my Public Focus agenda. Changes to the Victims Surcharge arrangements are also of interest – it’s all about re-centring our thinking on the needs of the victim and making sure offenders cover the cost of crime which is currently born by the taxpayer. Both are top priorities of my plan.

Next we have new legislation to tidy up the crowded toolbox for dealing with anti-social behaviour. The best bit of this from my perspective is the community having a direct say, working with me, in establishing the range of options for those causing harm to make amends – this is being called the Community Remedy. This provides a really tangible way for the public to make help make community safety their business.

More powers are being handed to the police to directly lead prosecutions. I am strongly in favour of this, as I said in the plan and work is afoot to adopt this approach in Hertfordshire.

Since the speech, more flesh has been added to important announcements about reforms to rehabilitation services. I will say more about this in another post, but I am clear that tackling re-offending is vital in the fight to reduce crime. Establishing supervision for recipients of short custodial sentences is a step in the right direction and something which everyone agrees needs to be done. How this will all be paid for is of course a factor, but it simply doesn’t make sense that this chaotic and highly recidivist group get sent out of the prison gate without someone to help them toe the line.

There is much to be done to prevent crime and reoffending – I want to see what more can be done with younger people and with families who are most at risk of becoming offenders or victims of crime.

Much of the legislative change outlined in the Queen’s speech aligns well with the priorities and direction of the Police and Crime Plan for Hertfordshire. The announcements serve to blow wind into our sails here in Herts.