Sam North has been announced by Hertfordshire Liberal Democrats as their candidate for the upcoming Police and Crime Commissioner elections.
Sam is a former police officer who is passionate about policing and crime prevention and has a deep understanding of the current limitations of the police service, of the difficulties that they face, and of the very real concerns that have been raised by the police time and time again.
Sam has set out a six-point plan for policing in Hertfordshire: Supporting our Officers, Reducing Crime, Mental Health Provision, Equality & Opportunity, 21st Century Policing and tackling Serious, Organised & Gang-Related Crime.
Sam says, "Policing is a fundamental building block of our society and must be recognized as being so. However, the police are underfunded, ill-equipped and morale is at an all-time low. My plan sets out the foundations for how policing should be done in Hertfordshire. Is it right that fewer than 5% of reported rapes are taken to court? That it takes on average 2.5 years for a victim of domestic abuse to contact the police? Or that we continue to see extraordinarily little action by the incumbent PCC on tackling issues of Equality and Diversity?
I don't think any of this is right. I believe we are a society that cares. I believe policing can be done so much better."
A recent survey conducted by the Police Federation shows that Hertfordshire Police has the lowest morale of any force in the country. Sam asks "Is this really what our officers deserve? The same officers that put their lives on the line for us every day of the week. We need to provide our officers with the training that they need, the opportunities that they desire and the credit that they deserve."
As we head into the new year, and as we continue to live under national restrictions during the pandemic, it is important to recognise the fantastic work that the police have been doing, particularly during this incredibly difficult period. Hertfordshire Police deserve a better Police and Crime Commissioner, to embrace innovation and forward thinking, pull Hertfordshire Police into the 21st Century and ensure the safety and security of all Hertfordshire residents.
Improving the police in the UK is no longer just about Multi-Agency Working, Community Policing and increasing officer numbers.
While these are important, we must look at the more fundamental aspects of what officers and staff are doing, how the organisation is structured, how evidence-based policing is prioritized and, perhaps most importantly, how we ensure the force is centred around victims.
Sam concludes "We have a fantastic opportunity this year to make a real positive impact on policing in Hertfordshire, to tackle inequality, improve the working environment for our officers and build a force ready for the future challenges they face."