Hertfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner.  
Commissioner's Office: 01707 806100
The inaugural annual lecture
This week saw my first public lecture at the University of Hertfordshire, where I had the opportunity to address the audience about police and crime matters , and to discuss in more detail my Police and Crime Plan for the County, Everybody’s Business. It was also an opportunity for me to explain how my thoughts are formed on police and crime issues – my influences, and the extent to which I see a role for the state and a role for individuals, families and communities in keeping crime low in our county. 

My thanks to the University for their work in putting on the event and to Vice Chancellor Quintin McKellar for chairing. It was great to have so many in the audience and to really begin the debate through a question and answer session after the lecture. I strongly believe what I said, that as well as the statutory duties of the Commissioner role – setting the constabulary’s budget, holding the Chief Constable to account and so on – there is a role within a role for Police and Crime Commissioners. We are perhaps the only elected officials who can speak to the whole county and ask – what kind of a place do we really want to live in? It is my role within a role to seek change to that end, and to lead and encourage our public bodies, our businesses, our newspapers, our communities, to work hard to achieve that aim.

I wanted to give examples of where we could all do more, and where people are already really stepping up to the plate. I gave an example of a business, Alchemy Metals, who are going the extra mile. They are a scrap metal firm in Stevenage. As I said in the lecture, they are a hi-tech operation - far removed from the traditional scrapyard with its rusting portacabin. For some time they have been operating a cashless system and ensuring that the identities of those that bring in scrap metal are verified through production of a passport or equivalent documentation. They have not turned a blind eye to metal stolen off the church roof, from the railway line or ripped out of a telecom installation.

However, Alchemy have gone one stage further: they positively worked with Hertfordshire Constabulary to establish a false merchant that was content to accept metal from dubious sources, and in September 6 men were arrested by the police as part of this operation.