PROFILE: Pete Levy - I don't just want people to be safe but feel safe too
On November 15, the people of former Avon and Somerset will vote for their first ever Police and Crime Commissioner. In the third of four profiles this week on the election hopefuls, crime correspondent Daniel Evans talks to Lib Dem candidate Pete Levy.
Why are you standing to be elected the Police and Crime Commissioner?
The first principle of policing is the protection of life. I've seen the positive side of local politics since my own election to Bristol City Council in 2010, but I've also seen the destructive, combative element.
The latter has no place in the work of the police and the many voluntary, public and private organisations whose endeavours keep us safe.
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I believe in a fair, equal and just society and I want to take advantage of this opportunity to use my experience to support these organisations and individuals to continue to ensure we can all go about our daily lives, not just being safe but feeling safe. If I can help contribute this to the region in which I was raised, then I will feel as if I've helped achieve something positive.
If elected, what would your main priorities be?
If I am elected, I will commit to the PCC's office being inclusive, honest, representative, fair-minded and accountable.
Policing is a complicated and demanding job. I want to inspire everyone who does take on that job in Avon and Somerset.
I aim to cut violent crime, particularly against women and girls, including female genital mutilation, honour attacks, rape, domestic violence and hate crimes.
As part of my PCC office, there would be a voluntary sector champion who would engage with the voluntary sector organisations, as well as a youth champion and a People's Panel.
I see anti-social behaviour as a massive issue that needs to be tackled, especially for the multiple repeat victims who are frightened to leave their own home. Youth engagement and tackling their boredom would be key.
We must tackle drugs, which are a factor in the vast majority of "acquisitive" crimes like theft, robbery and burglary.
I would like drug addiction to be treated as a health problem, not a crime problem, while continuing to crack down hard on drug dealers.
I would create a comprehensive communications strategy, working with the Chief Constable to ensure that the office of the PCC is the relevant outlet for a full, transparent and two-way means of communication between residents and their police.
Covering an area of 1,855 square miles, there is a diverse mix of rural and urban policing within our region. I would ensure there is no unfair allocation of funds favouring one area over another.
What experience do you have, professional or otherwise, to bring to the role?
As a former Wiltshire police and Royal Military police officer for eight years I know how hard the job we ask our officers and staff to do is.
I know just how much being a victim of crime affects people, whether it has directly happened to you or a loved one.
I also know how important it is for people to have confidence in their police and feel safe in their communities.
I have also served on the Police Authority since 2010, have dealt with police budgets and have experience of holding the Chief Constable to account.
From my role as a Bristol city councillor for Horfield, I know what a local authority looks like from the inside and where they need to be pushed for the benefit of the community.
How would you ensure crime continues to fall in Avon and Somerset, given the climate of current and future budget cuts?
My primary goal as Police and Crime Commissioner would be to keep crime low and ensure residents feel safe.
To achieve that, I would continue with all the current positive projects already on-going, such as the integrated offender management project (IMPACT) in Bristol, the National Police Air Service and forensic service collaborations.
I would continue to use South West One, which has been brilliant in delivering savings for the constabulary away from the front line.
I would also work with partner organisations to look at new initiatives, while supporting PCSOs and giving council wardens more responsibilities.
Avon and Somerset Constabulary gets at least £20 million less in Government funding every year than its assessed need. What would you do about that and potential future funding cuts?
I have already been talking to people in Government about this issue.
Any police and crime commissioner should resist any cuts in funding.
If we can get MPs in the region to come together, so there's no political threat between them, thinking "this is for us", we can then go to Government collectively and state our case effectively.
The community safety budgets currently controlled by councils will be allocated by the commissioner. What would you spend the community safety budget on?
Before making any commitments on the community safety budgets, I would need to discuss them with the relevant partner agencies, local authorities, chief constable and communities to find out where the money is most needed and would be most effectively spent.
For more information visit http://petelevy.org or www.choosemypcc.org.uk.