Commissioners of the Future
The highlights of last week (providing a welcome break from drafting my first police and crime plan ahead of publication mid-week) were two great sessions with experts young and old. After speaking at Herts Probation’s staff conference on Thursday, I enjoyed an excellent debate with the Hertfordshire UK Youth Parliament. 

The former was an excellent session, hosted by the Herts Probation Trust Chair Delbert Sandiford. As well as speeches from the Ministry of Justice, Herts Probation’s Chief Exec Tessa Webb and I, there was an excellent input from Scottish criminologist Fergus McNeill. Although Fergus and I were speaking from different perspectives, there was much common ground on issues of the personal and social responsibility of those who commit crime, as well as the wider community from which they hail. I also got to see the excellent Geese Theatre presenting a thought-provoking, interactive session and to chat over lunch with some of Tessa’s excellent team.

Later that evening, I enjoyed a lively discussion on a range of key issues with youth parliamentarians at the Youth Point centre in Watford. For my part, I explained what the role of Police and Crime Commissioner involved, as well as my priorities for policing and crime. The young people also shared their priorities with me - as set out in Hertfordshire’s young people’s manifesto - before some robust and rewarding debate.

I believe very strongly in young people having a voice and a say in the kind of communities they want to live in. Policing, crime and community safety issues are often some of the most important issues to young people - I wanted to hear what made them feel safe and what could be done to help young people stay out of trouble. The youth parliamentarians and I agreed on the importance of tackling issues such as the misuse of drugs and alcohol and continuing to build relationships between the Police and young people.

I was inspired to see just how engaged this group are, how much they want to be involved and by their desire to get more young people talking about what is important to them. We agreed a contract together to keep the dialogue going.

For those who tweet, I would recommend following the youth parliament at @HertsUKYP and Tessa Webb at @WebbTessa.

You may have also read about my decision, along with the Commissioner’s for Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire, not to continue the discussions with G4S for outsourcing Organisational Support services. It was clear that this was not the right route for Hertfordshire to deliver high quality services and save money. So now we are starting to look again at how these services can be best delivered. I will wish to see all services considered for outsourcing and the decisions made on the basis of detailed analysis as to what path should be pursued.

There will be more news about this over the next couple of months.