Ron Hogg, the Labour Party candidate for the upcoming police and crime commissioner (PCC) election on November 15th, met with student activists from the Durham University Labour Club last week.
He told the meeting that he would act responsibly if elected and would not unnecessarily raise fears about crime. Mr Hogg also pledged to protect the operational independence of the police and improve links with the public.
After the meeting I asked Mr Hogg the following questions:
Q. Why do you want to be a PCC?
A. I’ve worked for all of my life in the public sector providing a service to our community and I see this as a real opportunity to use the skills that I’ve gathered in my thirty years of policing to give a further service to communities. I will help to re-engage them with the police and improve the service to them.
Q. What do you think are the key crime issues in County Durham?
A. I’ve been out campaigning and talking to people on their doorsteps and the main issues are around anti-social behaviour, around behaviour caused by drunkness and drug-taking etc. Those are the key things that cause uncertainty in our communities. And another thing which often comes up is speeding. These are the areas we need to work on and that’s what I’d want to develop in consultation with our communities.
Q. What areas of Durham police provision would you like to see improved?
A. I think we need to improve our service to victims and witnesses of crime. I know our force already does a tremendous amount on that but again what I’m picking up on the doorstep is that it isn’t quite what it should be. But what I find to be very positive is that when I pick up issues and feed them into the force they get back to me and they deal with them. So there’s a sign that the force is really committed to taking things forward which is very encouraging.
Q. What is your philosophy on law and order and preventing crime?
A. I think it has to be a mixed economy. If you commit a crime you have to accept there’ll be an element of punishment but, fundamentally, unless we allow criminals to be rehabilitated, unless we assist criminals to stop them from re-offending, then we’re never actually going to beat crime at all. So it’s about working with partners in and around the community to help those who would commit crime to move out of that chaotic lifestyle and to remove the drivers of crime.
Q. So it’s tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime?
A. Absolutely, and David Cameron appears to be getting the message at last.
Information on all the candidates standing in the PCC election on November 15th can be found here.
Published in Palatinate Online, Durham’s Official Student Newspaper, 30th October 2012 – http://www.palatinate.org.uk/?p=28529