This is an outline of my speech that I am using for the hustings.
My name is Dave Baigent and I am seeking to be selected as ‘The People’s Commissioner’ –
The Peoples Commissioner, for all of the people, all of the time
And I mean what I say when I say all of the time –
I will make myself available 7 days a week 24 hours a day
What is important to me, is that the people of Cambridgeshire AND Peterborough get the type of policing that they want.
My vision is to do this by bringing the police, the people, our communities and community services together.
This is not simply words
I am a can do person – learnt from the 30 years I spent as a firefighter
Therefore, if elected, I will raise the profile of community policing to levels that have never before been imagined
and to do this in an entirely different way.
So what do I mean?
I am a relentless campaigner, canvasser and self-publicist.
Someone who doesn’t just talk – someone who gets things done.
As ward organiser, I established a campaign team to win my seat from an incumbent LibDem Mayor and to do so by increasing the Labour vote by almost 62%.
From that time on I have not looked back.
I am a leading member of Cambridge’s campaign committee who has installed two more labour councillors in my ward.
A team that won control of the city from the libdems in 2014
This then prepared the ground for when, in the general election, Daniel Zeichner became MP for Cambridge.
If selected I will bring May’s election alive
and at the same time I will join with you to bring our district elections alive.
Because a campaign for a labour commissioner, is a campaign for labour
and we need to get our message out together,
to reach all those people have forgotten what it is to vote labour
we need those people and most of all they need us
So what else do I have to offer?
I have wide ranging experience of the policing
My father was a police officer, my step-daughter who lives with me is a serving police officer
Public Service courses through my veins like the letters in a stick of rock
I was a firefighter for over 30 years and throughout that time I worked closely with the police at incidents and in planning for them.
This gave me an insider’s knowledge of how the police work, their sense of humour and their culture –
I also learnt that the police are an enormously hard working organisation, but
at times, the way they do their work, and their attitudes can be a barrier to getting public support
My whole vision is to reduce that barrier
Throughout that time I was also an FBU official
and I am still a FBU member, campaigning against cuts to public services
therefore I know about fighting cuts and privatisation of public services,
and will do so publically if this Tory government once again tries to cut or privatise the police.
And that is not all the experience I have
on retirement from the fire service I went, as a mature student, to study for a first degree in sociology
I then read for a PhD in uniformed public service culture,
It was then that I realised that something had to be done about how police enthusiasm for their work, so often hindered public relations
So I acted
Using a combination of my practical and academic knowledge, I persuaded ARU to allow me to first write, and then lead, the first Uniformed Public Service Degree in the country
And at ARU I lectured on management, equality and leadership in the police
and most of all, on how policing can be improved by better community relations.
I was then, and still am, a major advocate of community support officers.
All these experiences provide me with a range of skills, which if selected, I can develop, to help our police service grow into a dynamic, complex, forward-looking organisation that is accountable and transparent to the public
So let me give my ideas a practical flavour.
I already know that when people get burgled or live in fear, they want to see a police officer as soon as possible.
Currently this cannot be guaranteed, because ‘as soon as possible’ can mean today, tomorrow or next week.
In fact, for some crimes, it is unlikely that the police respond in person at all.
This has to stop.
The police have to recognise, that if they want public support, then they must provide the sort of service that will mean the public want to help them
And so this brings me to the main vision of my campaign
and that is getting the police and the community working together.
So what is new about my vision?
I recognise that police – often through very clever detective work, solve crimes.
But more often, it is us, the public, that provide the evidence that catches criminals.
And yet, when I talk to my friends, they tell me that they would be reluctant to talk to the police about criminal behaviour.
There is a huge gap here, and it is my intention to fill this gap.
I will bring the police to the pubic and the public to the police. And I don’t mean a PC and a PCSO. I mean senior managers as well, because as commissioner, I will be able to do that.
And, I will ensure that they work with the community to set priorities. I will then hold the police to those priorities.
And as this relationship develops, eventually, the vital information that the public hold about criminal behaviour will start to be shared.
Now, I know that these are easy words to say –
but not so easy to make happen.
But, here is where I intend to be different
I have no intention of carrying out the duties of commissioner from behind a desk.
I will get out there, roll up my sleeves and make my ideas work.
This is what a Commissioner can do – particularly a Commissioner who if elected will have stood as the People’s Commissioner.
And that is not all I promise.
I also promise to take the police to the high crime areas
to visit the places where people are already suffering from disadvantage
The places where the most criminal activity takes place.
And I will make my vision work, by getting people to talk to each other
Why will I be able to do that?
Well it is as if my whole life has been in preparing me for this role
As I said earlier I was a firefighter for over 30 years – I am still a member of the FBU
In this job I learned to win against the odds
I bought these skills to my campaigning and to my life as an academic
This combination of practical and academic skills, will help me to achieve the vision that I offer to you
to provide the type of policing that people tell me they want.
A police service that is responsive to public demand
There will be no ‘no go’ topics or areas.
There will be no excuses, because I will lead by example.
My engagement will involve everyone
and to make this type of liaison work then there is one more thing I have to do
And that is to make sure the police represents its community.
Currently there are only two per cent of the police who identify as not-white. This is outrageous!
How can the police expect to be taken seriously, when in Cambridgeshire 15.5 per cent of the population are not white.
Even more so in Peterborough, where that figure almost doubles to 29.1 per cent.
I have an expertise on equality, particularly on the employment of what are so often called ‘minorities’ by masculine cultures.
I will ensure that the police work towards a more representative workforce
As I close, Let me talk a little bit more about cuts
When Theresa May argues that there ‘must be no let up in reform’, I say, when reform is actually code for cutting the service that the public want, then I will publicly oppose it.
So thank you for listening – please get in touch if you have questions
Because a People’s Commissioner needs to know what you want.
Thank you very very much