In his letter, Commissioner Andrew Snowden praised the recent change in policy by the Home Secretary to end degree only entry for police officers, something he had tirelessly lobbied for in favour of a choice of entry routes including vocational diplomas. He has written to the Home Secretary to outline how he thinks she can continue this really good start in the job – to take the difficult decisions needed.
Andrew set out how he is getting back to the basics of fighting crime and protecting people and highlighted ambition for more visible front line police officers, but also for investment into crime fighting cyber and digital technology and the physical infrastructure needed to ensure the force is fit for the future to stay one step ahead of criminals.
He acknowledged the current funding pressures and requested that short-term funding is made available to local policing to ensure the police uplift programme is delivered and to make Lancashire’s streets even safer.
The first of two areas Andrew has asked the Home Secretary to focus on next is an urgent review into youth offending, which he believes has become too soft in dealing with unacceptable criminal behaviour committed by young people. He says punishments – if there are any – do not deliver justice or protect potential future victims. Andrew outlined the huge impact this has on neighbourhoods, individuals and businesses – with unacceptable criminal behaviour allowed to escalate with no consequence for the action. This then creates a frustration with the Police, who often are doing their best and even if they make an arrest – nothing of any use will come from it once its out of the police’s hands as everyone us working to a national system and guidance that protects young people from justice.
The letter also raised the issue of a change in Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) working practices which Andrew described as a big factor in preventing successful safeguarding of domestic abuse victims and increasing the amount of successful cases taken to court to bring to justice those who commit domestic and sexual assaults. This relates to charging advice no longer given to police whilst a domestic abuse suspect is in custody. Andrew has urged the Home Secretary to empower policing to make charging decisions in these cases unless a suitable, timely and responsive process is agreed with CPS so that we can immediately get the case moving and support the victim.
Police and Crime Commissioner Andrew Snowden said: “I have set out very clearly that I want to get tough on the anti-social behaviour that plagues some areas. Yes we have to support young people, make sure they have somewhere to go, stop them being victims of child exploitation and given them chances to turn their lives around. But when they throw those chances back at you and their behaviour continued to worse – justice must be done for the victims, regardless of the age of the perpetrator.
“So I have shared my views with the Home Secretary about the need for national change to toughen up the way our criminal justice system deals with offenders and ensures that there is a proportionate and strong deterrent to re-offending. Young offenders in particular dealt with by the police can feel like they are invincible, which is unacceptable and undermines the hard work officers are doing around the clock to tackle issues like anti-social behaviour, burglary and theft, assaults and other serious offences. I strongly believe that there must be consequences that ensure severe offences or repeat offenders are manage and public confidence in policing and the criminal justice system improves.
“I have also drawn attention to the delays to domestic abuse charging which mean domestic abuse victims are disengaging with the Criminal Justice process and most importantly are losing trust and confidence and not proceeding with charges against the person who committed the assaults against them – often returning to the relationship. Like with youth offending – in order to ensure that justice is done – we need national changes to be made to free us up locally to make Lancashire safer ”
“The Home Secretary has made a great start in the job by listening to concerns around degree only entry and acting with speed and conviction of purpose. I have written knowing she wants to make further changes to ensure policing can focus on the basics and make our Country safer”.