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New PCC says communities must 'play their part' in tackling crime

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: December 19, 2012

  • Tony Hogg

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Towns and villages across the Westcountry are to be deputised in the battle against crime and anti-social behaviour, the new police and crime commissioner (PCC) has revealed.

Tony Hogg challenged communities to lead the fight with a promise to champion restorative justice and hand more power to locals – by tapping into the "energy" of charities and voluntary groups.

He has also vowed to increase the visibility of officers in the face of massive cuts, but insists he expects to be judged on his central pledge – to cut rising crime figures across Devon and Cornwall.

He said: "Communities are going to have to play their part more and start owning their towns and villages.

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"I want them to say 'this is my town and we are simply not going to put up with anti-social behaviour or graffiti'."

Mr Hogg, a former naval commander, who was voted in as the Conservative candidate for the role of PCC last month, laid out his vision for the future after his first month in the job.

This includes sharing resources with neighbouring forces in a bid to scale back the proposed loss of 700 officers by 2015 as part of attempts to save £50 million.

He explained how he hoped to combine his strategic role at the head of the force with becoming "somebody that people will turn to" when they have exhausted all other options. And, having cut his teeth in the voluntary sector as head of the Cornish charity Bishops Forum, he said he was "absolutely wedded to the huge value that the voluntary sector generates".

"They are all there already – soup kitchens, street pastors, neighbourhood and farm watches – I am simply saying to the community that we can do this," he added.

"If we pump prime them a little bit they can deliver amazing things – this is not just Conservative Party 'big society', it is my own observation of where we can go."

The force suffered one of the worst surges in crime in the country as it slashed more than 100 police officers last year, the Crime Survey for England and Wales revealed in April.

In the 12 months to December, the overall number of crimes in the two counties rose by 3% to 89,613. Robbery rose 12% and domestic burglary was up 16%.

It also emerged in August, that more than 36,000 offences were not investigated after the force judged there was little chance of finding those responsible.

This rise, from 33.7% in 2010-11 to 40% in 2011-12, prompted accusations that the force was trying to reduce its workload because of falling numbers of police officers, which by August had reached 300 of the total 3,500.

Mr Hogg was assessing the office of 20 staff which he inherited from the defunct policy authority, he said yesterday.

He has yet to appoint a deputy, and said he may not need one, but has recruited a communications manager as well as one adviser, Jan Stanhope.

Lady Stanhope, a former independent member of the disbanded police authority, will assist him on an annual salary of about £20,000 for working two days a week, an arrangement he described as "value for money".

In a briefing, from his offices close to the M5 at Pynes Hill, in Exeter, Mr Hogg set a timetable for the next few months, including the appointment of a chief constable and a budget for next year approved by early February.

He also identified areas where he hopes to improve policing.

He said police officers' jobs in Devon and Cornwall could be protected if some services and resources are shared between other forces in the South West, a move he called "logical" and "common sense".

As well as promoting "transparency" he is planning to replace the 101 telephone number, claiming it was suffering long delays and not representing value.

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  • MapSerpren  |  December 19 2012, 10:15PM

    I heard the police described by a medical practitioner today as 'nasty and vindictive.' He was talking about them in Cornwall. I dread to think what they are thought of elsewhere. They appear to have lost all respect and standing in our communities

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  • NonEmmit  |  December 19 2012, 9:45PM

    This man has NO electoral mandate, and is an overpaid lame duck!

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  • realityzone  |  December 19 2012, 6:32PM

    " Start owning their towns and villages" and 'this is my town and we are simply not going to put up with anti-social behaviour or graffiti'." He suggests to us. He does not of course explain how we are "not going to put up with it " Does he mean we confront some yobs and risk being arrested ourselves? because that is the normal pattern these days. Or does he mean immediately reporting an incident to the police, in which case the best of luck. The response you will get, if any, is an enquiry into who you are, DOB etc, you quickly feel you are the offender. What he has yet to grasp is that there is a mentality of criminal or anti social person for whom nothing will work except a fear of the consequences and that has long been removed from the Criminal Justice System. Sorry Mr. Hogg you will have to do a lot better than these notions if you are to earn respect of your voters. Will he be challenged about these statements by our ever vigilant journalists, no me neither

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  • kernewekonan  |  December 19 2012, 4:48PM

    Pay more get Less, but it looks as if we will have to do it all ourselves for nothing. Yet it seems there is no end of people paid high salaries to tell us to do just that. so what i see here is get rid of all these fat cats do it all ourselves and pay nothing. Where the heck has this COUNTRY GONE?

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  • accom  |  December 19 2012, 1:42PM

    I'd like to see the PCCs focus on corrupt sub-human filth who ruin lives and destroy the public's confidence in the police. Earlier this year there were the Hillsborough revelations that everyone knew anyway, now there is doubt regarding Plebgate - we must rid the country, and indeed the world, of bent scum. I am glad that the head of police is now independent and not a biased cop, but he must work with the police to root out the rotten ones to rot in jail.

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  • ineedtherapy  |  December 19 2012, 12:04PM

    Great...we've got Boss Hog Now every village will have it's own Deputy Dog It just gets better

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  • Cweed  |  December 19 2012, 11:53AM

    A vigilante charter? A bit of rough justice, turn a blind eye whilst we take them round the back and give them a good kicking? Just what new powers are the public going to get to enable them to deal with these problems? Or maybe all we can really do is be more proactive in reporting a crime so that the police can respond quickly and deal with it.

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  • shagrats  |  December 19 2012, 11:47AM

    Is there any way we can get this guy to drive around in a big white cadalliac, with some Horns on the front, and lets chip in so he can have a white suit.

  • josdave  |  December 19 2012, 10:08AM

    Does this commissioner have any idea what it is like to face up to a group of anti-social youths? If you even try telling off someone for using bad language at best you will get a mouthful of verbal abuse and at worst you will be assaulted. These feral beings have been allowed to get away with it for so long they consider themselves untouchable. Even a policeman trying to break up a crowd runs the risk of being charged with assault and suspended.

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