Click HERE to read my latest column in the Wiltshire Times and Wiltshire Gazette & Herald.
Back in 2010 police governance was broken and in need of radical reform. At that time, police authorities were theoretically responsible for holding forces to account. Yet in reality these bodies were nothing more than invisible committees of appointed councillors. They were tasked with acting on behalf of the public and had a duty to engage local people and businesses in setting priorities and local taxes but they did nothing of the sort. No one knew that police authorities existed, or what they did. Their decisions tended to be clandestine and were often buried deep within the minutes of meetings and hidden on abstract websites.
Crucially, Police and Crime Commissioners are elected – although the dismal turnout at the November 2012 election was hardly democracy’s finest hour, but on May 5 the 41 PCCs face election again.
Let’s not be mistaken, Police and Crime Commissioners have a vital job. In Wiltshire, the annual budget is over £100 million. They have the power to hire and fire the Chief Constable, they set the direction of focus for the county’s police force and have overall responsibility to keep crime falling, protecting our communities and keeping us safe. These are important elections.
It is important that we elect the best possible candidate for the position, but I know from personal experience how difficult it can be to meet every single voter during an election campaign. To help inform local residents, I have put some information about the role of Police and Crime Commissioner, our current Commissioner and all the other candidates standing for election on May 5 on my website michelledonelan.com/PCC.
An MP’s job is always busy and diverse so to inform local residents I have been putting more and more content onto my website. This week there is more information about the campaign to bring in the Meningitis B vaccine for all children up to the age of 11 (michelledonelan.com/meningitis). Meningitis is a ferocious disease that kills one in ten that it affects and, of those who survive, a quarter suffer permanent disability.
It is expensive, but I think worth the investment to immunise every child against this terrible disease.
Having called on the Government to do more to support those suffering in the Middle East, on Tuesday night I was pleased to back a new plan which will see an additional 3,000 vulnerable children saved horrific suffering in the Middle East. Again, there is more information at michelledonelan.com/refugees.
Please let me know if there is any more information you would like on my role as our MP or if you require help with any issue and need a meeting email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone (01249) 704465.