4 April 2018
Follow me @LindaDerrick1
I sent my blog of 26 March on the increase of burglary in Bucks to Anthony Stansfeld, the Police and Crime Commissioner of Thames Valley Police (TVP). His response is below. My comments on this are:
1. I’m always dubious when elected politicians say they try to keep politics out of their jobs. It’s as though they think they can somehow rise above the fray and put all their beliefs, opinions and prejudices to one side.
So when Anthony Stansfeld said this in his e-mail I was somewhat sceptical.
After all, he ran as the Conservative candidate for the post of Commissioner. His leaflets were put out by the Conservative party and his campaign was managed by the Conservative Party.
Anthony Stansfeld was a Conservative district Councillor when he was first elected as Commissioner in 2012 and he remained a Councillor for a considerable period afterwards.
Presumably he therefore believes strongly in the values and policies of the Conservative party.
So it seems a tall order to believe he puts all this aside in his job as Police and Crime Commissioner.
And why would someone who claims to keep politics out of his job make so many jibes at Labour Commissioners in his response? (And without any evidence).
If anyone has any doubts about Mr. Stansfeld’s willingness to speak out with his political views, they only have to read an interview he gave for the Telegraph in May 2016 as the Police and Crime Commissioner for TVP. He said:
“Crime will continue to spiral until our borders are brought under control. And Britain will be unable to control its borders unless it votes to leave the European Union…. Murder rates and serious violence – driven by eastern European gangs – are increasing as organised crime on British soil is now controlled from abroad. Membership of the EU has also allowed Islamist terrorists to roam the Continent at will, leaving them free to come to our country and flourish.
The public will see growing numbers of armed police on the streets of Britain as a direct consequence of this inability to control our borders. EU membership prevents the most elementary precautions that need to be put in place to combat rising levels of organised crime.
The vast sums we pour into the EU have no auditable trail, no democratic oversight, and much is wasted or ends up in criminal hands.”
So I think it is reasonable to conclude that Anthony Stansfeld is a Conservative politician who brings his strong political views to the job of Commissioner.
2. Mr. Stansfeld suggests I should compare the record of TVP with other police forces. If I did, I would see what a relatively good job TVP does.
I don’t propose to do this because the subject matter of my blogsite is about political events in Bucks. There are many people blogging about national politics but very few about politics in Bucks, particularly from a left wing perspective. So I keep it local.
The important point is that burglary in Bucks has gone up by 16%.
3. Nevertheless, I checked on Mr. Stansfeld’s assertion that “Burglary has gone up nationally, however it has gone up less in TVP than all its neighbouring 9 police forces except one.”
The facts are that burglary in TVP has gone up by 16% and nationally by 8%. So burglary in Bucks has gone up at twice the national rate.
Moreover burglary in TVP has gone up more than in two of the other four police forces in the South East and more than the average for the South East. Burglary in TVP has gone up four times as much as in the Metropolitan police area. The link is below if anyone wants to check.
It worries me that the Police and Crime Commissioner can make such a misleading statement, presumably for political reasons, when it can be so easily checked. I would have thought probity and good judgement essential for the job.
4. Mr. Stansfeld also suggests that it would make a difference if TVP had more resources.
Well, that’s not what he said when he was campaigning for the post in 2016. He then claimed credit for the decrease in crime rates – overlooking the fact that crime was on the increase just before the election.
Anthony Stansfeld didn’t criticize the Government’s austerity policies before he was elected nor criticise then the draconian cuts to the police. He didn’t warn us then that the cuts would mean an increase in crime. He didn’t say then that TVP needed more resources nor warn us that our local rates for the police would have to go up.
Apparently he has only now seen the light.
5. Mr. Stansfeld has a salary of £85,000 a year and his office has a budget of £7 million. Perhaps one of the best ways of providing TVP with more resources would be to abolish the post of Commissioner.
Anthony Stansfeld’s response
I do my best to keep politics out of my job as PCC, and I have good relations with my three Labour MPs, and all the 20 Labour PCCs, many of whom were cabinet ministers under the last Labour government.
You have to look at the HMICFRS reports and the crime figures at a national level. Overall only one other police force in the country has had better reports than Thames Valley Police (TVP), that is Durham, which gets considerably more money than we do. If I had the same amount of money per head of population as Durham we could afford 1000 extra police officers, which would make a difference. We were the only two forces to be graded ‘outstanding’ for efficiency.
We have either been graded as Outstanding or Good in all major reports except one, that was Crime Recording. Out of the 19 forces that have been graded in this category 10 were graded as ‘inadequate’, most of them had Labour PCCs. All large force were graded inadequate., TVP was no exception. The crimes are being recorded, it is whether, at point of contact through the call centre, the operator grades them as crimes or incidents, which can be upgraded when a police officer looks into it, or downgraded from crime to incident. There is considerable disagreement amongst forces as to how HMICFRS grades this, notably amongst Labour PCCs.
Burglary has gone up nationally, however it has gone up less in TVP than all its neighbouring 9 police forces except one. It is still lower than it was 6 years ago, and TVP has lower rates than its 5 most similar forces, it used to be the highest.
Overall TVP is rated better than most other forces, and better than all Labour PCC controlled forces other than Durham. I do not make political points out of this. I would like more money from central government. TVP receives substantially less than all the other large forces, yet we do considerably better than them in inspections and have less crime. All the other large forces have Labour PCCs.
I hope this helps, but as I said I do not make political capital out of this, I am not complacent, I think we should do better in some areas, and every effort is being made to do this,”