VISIBLE neighbourhood policing, tackling issues which cause people to fall into crime, and more victim support are the priorities of Labour’s candidate to be the next Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Warwickshire.
Coun Sarah Feeney, Deputy Leader of the Labour Group on Warwickshire County Council (WCC), has launched her campaign to replace Conservative PCC Phillip Seccombe on May 2.
Coun Feeney, who represents Rugby’s Benn Ward on WCC and is a full-time trade union representative at Coventry City Council, outlined her plans at a fundraising dinner in Ryton-on Dunsmore.
She said: “We need much more visible policing to tackle crime as it happens, but we also need to embed police in the community.
“A key priority for me is to urgently address the underlying issues that cause people to be drawn into crime and provide greater support to the victims.”
She said developing neighbourhood policing plans and increasing community engagement would mean people working with the police again.
“I am not saying we can have a bobby on every beat again, but neighbourhood policing should be the building block on which we base our local policing and must be prioritised,” she added. “We need to move Police Officers out of jobs best done by civilians and back on to the frontline.
“We know early intervention, particularly focusing on how mental health and neurodiversity predispose people to get caught up in crime, will prevent crime, so it makes financial sense as well as keeping people safe.”
She said a key issue was better prevention and prosecution of violence against women and girls – with 1,612 rape and other sexual offences having been reported to Warwickshire Police between April 2021 and March 2022.
“I also think we can do more to address retail crime and I have been talking to retailers across the county about what can be done to help and protect shop workers,” she added.
Warwick and Leamington MP Matt Western, who was a speaker at Coun Feeney’s launch event, said: “I have known Sarah for a number of years, and she speaks with real authority on issues of crime in our communities and the need for a better approach to policing.
“Sarah knows the issues that are plaguing our communities and has a plan to tackle them. She would be a strong voice for the people of Warwickshire, fighting to tackle the issues that matter most to residents across our county.”
The PCC role encompasses a range of responsibilities aimed at ensuring efficient and effective policing, and serves as a key figure in maintaining the link between the police and the community.