APCC Chair: 'The public can’t just be safe, they have to feel safe'
Marc Jones, Chair of the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners, has this morning laid out the need to restore public confidence in policing.
Addressing delegates at the annual APCC-NPCC Partnership Summit, he said: "This is the first Summit we have held since February 2020. A lot has changed since then.
"This has been a hugely challenging time for policing. We owe a debt of gratitude to all officers and staff for their hard-work and patience throughout the pandemic. To those of you in the room, and listening remotely, and to all your colleagues - on behalf of PCCs and the public we represent - I want to take this opportunity to say a heartfelt ‘thank you’.
"But we cannot ignore or gloss over where policing has not lived up to the very high standards we expect.
"The murder of Sarah Everard, in particular, shocked us all. Our thoughts remain with her loved ones. We must do everything possible to ensure that something like this never happens again.
"This tragic case illustrates the importance of there being proper accountability and transparency within policing, and PCCs of course play a key role in that.
"It is not enough for policing to be doing a good job at protecting and serving the public; the public have to have the trust, confidence and belief that that is happening too.
"To put it another way: the public can’t just be safe, they have to feel safe.
"We all need to work together to repair, and retain public confidence in the system.
"Effectively tackling Violence Against Women and Girls doesn’t just mean arresting perpetrators. It means investing in our communities and changing attitudes. PCCs are helping to address whole-system cultural and health challenges.
"The solutions include prevention - in terms of investing in additional security measures and patrols in our towns and cities which make women feel safer. It means working with licensees in the night-time economy to make venues safe places for all.
"We need better education – including in schools, colleges, workplaces, and online. We need to teach people about respectful relationships and acceptable behaviour and language; and we all need to call out misogyny and hate wherever we see or hear it. It takes all of us – but after what has happened in recent months policing must take the lead.
"We are working with offenders to – not just locking up perpetrators but supporting rehabilitative programmes which help them change their behaviour and develop non-abusive relationships in the future.
"And of course, we need to ensure there is adequate and appropriate support available for victims throughout their journey through the criminal justice system. Victims need to have the confidence that when they come forward they will be believed. And they need to believe that they will receive first-class wrap-around care which is tailored to their needs from day one, to their day in court, and beyond."
He ended his speech by saying: "The public expect us to face up to the challenges in front of us, as policing always does, and work together to tackle the issues head on. Ultimately, they want us to reduce crime and to make them and their communities safer. And together, we will."