Finally summer has arrived! It was scorching last Friday at our Commissioning Conference. Thanks to all the speakers who all gave their perspective on commissioning services within the new Police and Crime Commissioner world. If you didn't make the event you can check out all the presentations and my welcome speech on our website.
I notice that the Ministry of Justice are currently consulting on new proposals that will see Probation Trusts potentially taking on the role of commissioners. Apparently the idea behind the outsourcing is to reduce re-offending rates.
On Tuesday I was at the National Collaboration Conference, it doesn't seem a year ago that Kent was hosting this event. I spoke in my capacity as Deputy Chair of the Association of Police Authorities, talking about the impact that Police and Crime Commissioners will have on collaboration. Forces and Authorities from across England and Wales were present so it was a great opportunity for all of us to put our heads together.
Those of you who know me know that I absolutely believe in the merits of collaboration, it has made an enormous difference to policing in Kent and Essex, without compromising local policing, and saving millions of pounds.
The question for us is will collaboration be seen by PCCs as an opportunity or a risk. You have to ask yourself will the public resonate with collaboration. There is a duty on PCCs to explore collaboration but the future is uncertain as to exactly how high the collaboration agenda will feature on their radar and electoral mandate.
Last week I was really interested to read in the Guardian an article by Shami Chakrabarti, Director of Liberty, on the end of Anti-social Behavioural Orders. The article talks about how between 2003 and 2009 the breach rate increased from 46 per cent to 56 per cent. Those that had breached their order ended up in prison.
There is a real debate to be had about putting young people into prison. Writing as a Magistrate, and this is my own personal view, we should be looking at the social problems - the beginning issues - that are causing young people to turn to nuisance behaviour. Overloading our prisons with young people who are young and lost is not the answer.
Now the Home Secretary has introduced six new powers under Criminal Behaviour Orders to replace ASBOs. It's one to watch. According to the Home Office website it states that it will give agencies more power to 'stop bad behaviour before it escalates' and the idea is to streamline the process.
Here in Kent we have spent a lot of time creating a harm based approach to anti-social behaviour reports, following the lessons learnt from the Fiona Pilkington case.
Last but not least I'm delighted that the Home Office and Ministry of Justice have decided that from today, the national crime mapping website, Police.uk, will start to show what happens after a crime has occurred in terms of a police action or a court outcome. This applies to crimes that occurred from January 2012 onward.
I absolutely welcome this new initiative. The public has a real appetite for information on crime. I'm sure taxpayers in the county will be really interested to watch Kent's results. Openness and transparency should be at the forefront of any public service and the more information that can be made available to the public the better.
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