Kevin Carroll, the joint vice-chairman of the British Freedom Party, is running for Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner. Below is his manifesto, which was recently published at his campaign website.
Kevin Carroll — “The People’s Candidate” for Bedfordshire PCC
Manifesto for Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner Election 2012
It will be my overarching goal as Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) to make Bedfordshire a county where criminals truly fear the consequences of crime; where women, children, the elderly and vulnerable feel safe to walk in town centres, streets and housing estates by day or by night.
My commitments as Commissioner
- Zero tolerance for extremist and terrorist activity in Bedfordshire.
- Zero tolerance for possession of knives and other weapons.
- Robust and decisive measures to cut drug-dealing and drug-related offences.
- Put the needs of victims before those of criminals.
- Zero tolerance for anti-social behaviour that blights the lives of many Bedfordshire citizens.
- Strong measures to protect children from dangerous drivers.
- Aggressively pursue so-called ‘honour’ crimes.
- End politically correct, two-tier policing.
As a proud Lutonian born and bred, I can think of few greater honours than to be chosen by the citizens of Bedfordshire to serve as their voice on policing and crime in our county. The PCC role will be a demanding one, and my aim here is to show the people of Bedfordshire that I am the right individual for the job.
The transition from Police Authority to elected Commissioner in November 2012 represents a major shift in the way policing will be managed, potentially making police far more accountable to the communities they serve. But for this new arrangement to work will require a PCC of dynamism, drive and dedication, someone who knows the county like the back of his hand, a natural communicator who can build bridges between the police and public.
Communicating and building effective working relationships is what I do best, both in my work as a team leader in the construction industry and in my political activities. These skills will be critical for me as PCC, working alongside the Chief Constable and front-line officers, the various agencies the police work with, other forces (especially Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire, partners in the three-way ‘Strategic Alliance’), Special Constables and other volunteers, and last but not least the citizens of Bedfordshire.
I’ve been actively involved in my local community for many years, and have seen first-hand the devastation that crime causes and the way victims are sometimes left to deal with the consequences without adequate support. This is something that I am determined to change. On the other side, my experience of liasing with police forces across Britain in organising public events has strengthened my admiration for their dedication and professionalism.
It is my nature to seek conciliation rather than confrontation, solutions rather than problems, but as PCC I will not shrink from hard decisions wherever the force fails to provide the kind of service that the people of Bedfordshire deserve.
My Commitments for Policing and Crime in Bedfordshire
1. Zero tolerance for extremist and terrorist activity in Bedfordshire
For me as a Lutonian, it is tragic that for many people around the world Luton is synonymous with extremism. Youth radicalisation in Bedfordshire is a problem that requires a far stronger response than the government’s failed Prevent strategy. Hundreds of millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money are wasted on that programme, money that could and should be used to avert cuts in police funding and save front-line officers’ jobs.
I have spoken at anti-terrorism conferences around the world, most recently a conference in New York commemorating the terrible events of September 11, 2001, and it is clear to me that the problem of extremism is not going to go away any time soon. As Commissioner I will work closely with the Chief Constable to bring the problem of extremism in Bedfordshire into the open so that it can be dealt with robustly.
2. Zero tolerance for possession of knives and other weapons
The Bedfordshire force has made good progress in the past few years in tackling violent crime, and this will remain a top priority. As Commissioner I will institute a crackdown on possession of knives and offensive weapons, so that parents need no longer worry for their children’s safety when they are out.
Repeat offending and youth offending will be prioritised in all crime categories, with the aim of greatly reducing crime long-term.
3. Robust and decisive measures to cut drug-dealing and drug-related offences
By aggressively targeting hard drug dealing I intend to significantly reduce street robberies and other drug-related offences.
4. Put the needs of victims before those of criminals
It is a common complaint that criminals receive more care and resources than their victims. As Commissioner I will seek to reverse this by coordinating police and support agencies to respond more effectively to the immediate and long-term needs of crime victims.
5. Zero tolerance for anti-social behaviour that blights the lives of many Bedfordshire citizens
Persistent anti-social behaviour can make residents’ lives a living hell. As Commissioner, I will adopt a ‘zero-tolerance’ policy towards anti-social behaviour and low-level crime, both to improve quality of life for residents and for the ‘knock-on’ effect’ it will have in reducing serious crime.
I will increase foot patrols in residential areas so as to increase face-to-face contact, which is critical in building trust between police and the public.
6. Strong measures to protect children from dangerous drivers
Road accidents are a serious and continuing threat to children in Bedfordshire, and too often are caused by dangerous driving in residential streets or near schools or play areas. As Commissioner, I will advocate that reckless, careless or intoxicated drivers be dealt with harshly. At the prevention level, I will strongly support workable proposals to divert traffic away from children’s areas.
7. Aggressively pursue so-called ‘honour’ crimes
There is no honour in murder, nor in any of the other crimes labelled as ‘honour’-based. I welcome Bedfordshire’s recent initiative on ‘honour’ crimes and look forward to strengthening it so that perpetrators of such crimes can expect to feel the full force of the law.
8. End politically correct, two-tier policing
There must be a ‘level playing field’ in policing, with everyone policed equally regardless of their background or where they live. I want to see an end to political correctness, forced on police officers by politicians and hampering their ability to tackle crime. As Commissioner I will resist any and all attempts by central government or local politicians to politicise the operations of Bedfordshire police.
Managing the Budget
Cuts in police budgets nationwide mean that Bedfordshire must make substantial savings (£19m between 2011 and 2015) whilst at the same time improving quality of policing. I am confident that we can meet this challenge by:
- exploring further opportunities for improving efficiency through the Strategic Alliance with Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire;
- exploring new opportunities for collaboration and resource sharing with other forces and agencies;
- ensuring wherever possible that desk roles are carried out by civilians, not police officers, and eliminating pointless bureaucracy;
- making best use of Special Constables and other volunteers (encouraging public participation in policing will be one of my key duties as PCC);
- learning from other police forces; one of my first acts as Commissioner will be to initiate a study of successful cost-saving strategies by other UK and European forces, that Bedfordshire might benefit from;
- cutting free translation services to foreign offenders.
Communicating is what I do best, and will be central to my role as ‘the voice of the people’ on policing and crime, and in encouraging greater public engagement. As Commissioner I will:
- hold regular ‘surgeries’ where citizens can meet with me face-to-face to air their concerns and ideas on policing and crime;
- visit schools, old people’s homes, parents’ groups, residents’ groups and business and community organisations to talk about the work of Bedfordshire police and to get public input;
- support neighbourhood watch and other schemes that encourage local people to ‘look out’ for one another;
- instigate a fundamental review of policing in rural areas to improve crime prevention and response there;
- issue regular online reports of my activities, and enable members of the public to contact me directly online;
- initiate a rolling programme of public meetings to address crime and policing issues in towns, villages and neighbourhoods across the county;
- establish clear lines of communication with senior police officers so that they can respond quickly to public input relating to their respective areas of responsibility.