Rejection of ‘astonishing’ claim by Conservative Police Commissioner that Uttlesford District Council is responsible for policing failures

Residents for Uttlesford (R4U) has expressed ‘astonishment’ over election letters to the media from the Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex, Roger Hirst, that seek to divert blame to Uttlesford District Council for policing failures. Mr Hirst is seeking re-election in early May.

Petrina Lees (R4U) Petrina Lees (R4U)

Cllr Petrina Lees (R4U), who is Leader of Uttlesford District Council, said “Police statistics show that total crime in February this year was 20% higher than in February 2014. Most worryingly, violent crime is three times higher over the same period. It is astonishing that Mr Hirst has tried to blame UDC for his policing failures. It is obvious that he is responsible for police and crime across Essex, not UDC – it is in his job title and he gets funding and paid for it. It would be most helpful if Mr Hirst got in direct contact to explain his outrageous assertion, as it has never been brought it up face-to-face in the police partnership meetings we attend.”

Maggie Sutton (R4U) Maggie Sutton (R4U)

Cllr Maggie Sutton, UDC Portfolio Holder for Communities and Local Partnerships, added “We believe in a visible and effective local police presence and provide practical support to police officers. When Mr Hirst closed every police station in Uttlesford, it was UDC which stepped forward to provide a local police base at UDC’s Saffron Walden offices. Despite the fact UDC does not have a remit or statutory funding for policing it now provides funding for PCSOs as residents have told us it is important to have local ‘Bobbies on the street’. Now Mr Hirst is seeking re-election, in what is a U-turn, he’s pledging ‘Neighbourhood Policing will be strengthened’. We look forward to his proposal to once again fully fund local PSCOs rather than Uttlesford District Council.”

Cllr Sutton concluded “Meanwhile, at UDC we continue our existing strong Community Safety programme; in fact we are expanding it. We are working to become an accredited partner of the Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance (DAHA), and so a best-practice leader in helping reduce violence against women and girls. We have a track record of working well with the police service, to the same ends. That is why it is most disappointing to get what is clearly a politically motivated attack from the Conservative Commissioner. He and other candidates are available for election this Thursday the 2nd May. We suggest residents review their choices and come out and vote. We remain committed to supporting a reduction of crime in our district by working with whomever is elected as Police and Crime Commissioner.”

About Residents for Uttlesford