PCC Ron Hogg meeting with resident at Newton Hall shops
Durham PCC Ron Hogg comments on his first year as Commissioner
Friday 15th November will mark one year since Ron Hogg was elected the first ever Police and Crime commissioner (PCC) for Durham.
PCCs aim to cut crime and deliver an efficient and effective police service within their force area. In order to provide stronger and more transparent accountability of the police, PCCs were elected to hold the Chief Constable to account, oversee the force budget and improve local relationships to ensure community needs are met.
Reflecting on why the role first appealed to him, Mr Hogg, who lives in Chester-le-Street, said: “With all of the experience I have gained I really felt that I had a lot I could give back to the community and welcomed the opportunity to work with residents, putting their safety and policing needs first”.
“Giving residents a voice in how their policing service is delivered is a key priority for me. I like to meet with residents and engage with communities through traditional methods such as one to one meetings as well as community group meetings, town and parish council meetings, youth clubs and PACT meetings. I am also a keen user of social media and I encourage the public to contact me digitally as well if that is their preference (either @DurhamPCC or @Ronaldhogg1 on Twitter, or PCC.Durham on Facebook)”.
Following his consultation with the public at the end of 2012, Mr Hogg has tasked the Chief Constable to focus on the following areas as part of his Police and Crime Plan 2013-17: to reduce the impact of hate crime and domestic abuse, improve road safety, tackle anti-social behaviour as well as drug and alcohol issues and making policing services visible and accessible.
“Being accountable to the public is important and on their behalf I hold the Chief Constable to account for policing through monitoring and scrutinising performance, crime figures, equality and diversity matters and other areas such as finance and ensuring value for money.
Commenting on his achievements during his first year in office, Mr Hogg is proud to talk about his role in driving forward his policing priorities for tackling domestic abuse and hate crime, two of his manifesto commitments on which he was elected one year ago:
“Tackling domestic abuse, particularly violence against women and girls, is such an important issue and is the type of crime which usually occurs behind closed doors in a victims’ own home. I am pleased that there is already a lot of work underway locally to address this issue and I am continuing to work with the police and other agencies towards reducing this crime amongst our communities.
Reducing the impact of hate crime is also high on Mr Hogg’s agenda and he is working with a number of partner organisations to tackle this:
“Historically hate crimes have been largely under reported, either because individuals are not aware they are a victim or sadly, may feel it is just something they have to put up because of their way of life.
“In other circumstances a victim may not have had the confidence to report a hate crime in the past or may not have wanted the police involved and would rather have gone elsewhere for help.
“I am pleased to announce that there is now one Hate Crime Action Plan for the whole of County Durham and Darlington, instead of the previous three. This means the local authorities, police and other agencies can work together force-wide to share best practice instead of duplicating efforts.”
Road safety is another topic which residents regularly discuss with their new Commissioner, either individually or at local residents’ meetings: “A lot of work has taken place during the last year to address mainly speeding and parking related issues” Mr Hogg said: “especially inconsiderate parking on footpaths, or illegal parking on double yellow lines, both of which can have large safety implications for pedestrians and other road users.
“I have also been working with schools, councils and the police to address the problems of parking around schools which continues to be a concern during the school run. This is one area which will continue to be a challenge as there is not one solution which meets everyone’s needs. The safety of our young people however is paramount and I encourage parents and guardians to do their bit and, if necessary, park a little further way and walk the extra distance to school to help reduce the risk of an accident”.
Other notable achievements in Mr Hogg’s first year include:
A new police station in Newton Aycliffe
Working with partners (including Probation, councils, Fire and Rescue and other forces) to reduce costs by sharing resources (e.g. buildings and staff)
Currently identifying savings on budgets such as estates (e.g. new police HQ will save approximately £0.65m per year) and other savings such as energy and IT costs
Ensuring value for money by challenging the force to save £5m over the next two financial years due to Government cuts
Committed the force to maintain good performance, below average crime and high detection rates, all for below average Council Tax
Looking ahead to the future, Mr Hogg will continue to address local concerns and ensure the people of County Durham and Darlington get the best from their police service:
“The public should have confidence in their police force as they work hard for our communities. I will continue to monitor performance and crime rates and will work with the police and partners, to protect all of our communities, but especially those who are most vulnerable”.
Posted on Friday 15th November 2013