New ‘tough-on-crime’ campaign group launches

A new campaign group that will “champion the fight against crime and disorder on behalf of the public” was launched on Wednesday (April 26).

Apr 26, 2023
By Paul Jacques
The Public Safety Foundation founder Rory Geoghegan

The Public Safety Foundation said it promises to establish a new “national mission” to make the UK the safest place to live, work and raise a family.

It says it will “champion the fight against crime and disorder, speaking up for the law-abiding majority and those who work on the front line fighting crime”.

Founded by Rory Geoghegan, a former police officer and No 10 Special Adviser, The Public Safety Foundation, is backed by an advisory council including former police officers, a retired Old Bailey judge, a former Victims’ Commissioner, a former police and crime commissioner (PCC), and a leading criminologist.

In a statement it said: “The Public Safety Foundation plans to help reboot the relationship between the public and the police, and to help focus politicians, public institutions and wider society on fighting crime and disorder.”

The foundation was formally launched in central London, with Home Secretary Suella Braverman delivering a speech on policing and crime.

At a time when policing across much of the world is under great scrutiny, the foundation has already secured the endorsement of one of the world’s most respected crime-fighters and policing leaders.

The former New York Police Department and Los Angeles Police Department Commissioner, Bill Bratton, said: “The Public Safety Foundation’s focus on supporting the police to fight crime and disorder is much-needed in these challenging times.”

Mr Geoghegan, who most recently served as Special Adviser to the Prime Minister on Justice and Home Affairs in the No10 Policy Unit, said: “As a whole country, we must do much better to build on some of our strongest traditions, including a police force that fights crime and disorder, keeps us safe, and can retain the confidence of the law-abiding public.

“The foundation will champion the fight against crime and disorder on behalf of the public, including the many frustrated and often forgotten crime-fighters who work so hard to keep us safe.

“Our future plans include setting out the key measures necessary to ensure the UK will be the safest place to live, work, and raise a family.”

His Honour Timothy Pontius, a senior Old Bailey Judge who retired in 2016, and a member of the advisory council, said: “The opportunity to help advise and support a new organisation determined to help make the UK the safest place to live, work and raise a family is one that I eagerly accepted.

“From my own substantial experience over decades, crime exacts a tremendous cost on society and often a disproportionate one on the poorest and the young.

“This is especially true for knife crime where we continue to see far too many knife attacks – both fatal and non-fatal – with the victims and perpetrators very often teenagers.

“We should all support a refocusing of our efforts as a country to drive down crime and ensure justice is done.”

Chris Donaldson, a member of the foundation’s advisory council, and himself a 30-year veteran of policing with experience as a firearms and public order commander, said: “As black man, I served the public as a police officer for 30 years. I have seen the reality of policing and crime in modern Britain. The Public Safety Foundation is the critical friend that policing has desperately needed for decades.

“The foundation will be unafraid to challenge policing to do better, while retaining a fundamental appreciation for the men and women in policing and the wider justice system who step up each day to fight crime and protect the public.”

James Treadwell, Professor of Criminology at Staffordshire University, and also member of the advisory council, added: “The foundation is aligned with the best of criminology. It recognises that police and prisons can and do cut crime, and that the real victims are not those convicted of crimes, but those who are preyed upon by criminals.”

Former Victims’ Commissioner Baroness Helen Newlove, whose husband Gary was murdered in 2007, and Kevin Hurley, the former independent PCC for Surrey between 2012 and 2016 and an ex-detective chief superintendent, are also on the advisory council.

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