APCC chair sets out priorities to deliver safer communities

The chair of Association of Police and Crime Commissioners’ (APCC) says it is “imperative” to understand the root causes of criminal behaviour as she set out her vision for the reform of policing and criminal justice.

Nov 15, 2023
By Paul Jacques
Donna Jones

In her opening address at the APCC and National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) Summit in London on Wednesday (November 15), Donna Jones, said: “It is the duty of police and crime commissioners, (PCCs) not just to reflect public concerns and sentiment towards the police, but to help rebuild and strengthen trust and confidence in policing.

“It is imperative that we understand the root causes of criminal behaviour. Serious youth violence should be the concern of every parent in Britain as a result of the increase in knife carrying over the last decade.

“Neglect, abuse and violence in childhood are the commonality amongst the vast majority of people committing volume crimes in Britain and the most hardened criminals. Failing them as children and then locking them up as adults is not only wrong, it’s avoidable.

“Addressing addictions, depression, violence and low-level child neglect must be a government priority.

On serious violence, Ms Jones added: “The tragedy of knife crime involving teenagers, both as victims and perpetrators, is something barely heard of ten years ago. Now it casts a dark shadow of fear across our communities. We need to stop this.”

She acknowledged that it had been a “tough two years for policing”, but that the reflection this has prompted, together with the additional 20,000 police officers delivered over the past three years through Uplift, has provided policing with the opportunity to reset police-public relations and drive forward policing into a new era.

Ms Jones also said that the public expects the police to make use of the resources provided by Uplift to ensure a robust response to lower-level crimes.

Such crimes are currently under-reported because of a concern they will not be investigated and yet they have a significant impact on people’s lives, she said.

Ms Jones, the PCC for Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, also called for a pension abatement for retired police officers to come back into forces to train and support the one third of police officers who now have less than three years in service.

As NPCC chair Chief Constable Gavin Stephens set out his ‘ambitious vision’ for technology-led transformation of policing on the opening day of the Summit, Ms Jones also acknowledged “the positive impact” that technology, including body-worn cameras and the use of social media, can have in improving public accountability and engagement.

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