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News Report Page 13 of 35
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Transcript - Interview with the outgoing Merseyside Police Commissioner

Interview Audio Copy

Please note that this might not be 100% correct.  The audio file can be found above so that it can be played to verify the statements made.

Can I get you to introduce yourself, please? Jane Kennedy, and I'm the Police Commissioner for Merseyside. On How long have you held this position? I've been the Police Commissioner for around six years. I was elected first in 2012, and then re-elected in 2015. And I always promised myself that I would serve in this role if elected for two terms. And this is coming towards the end of my second term. And it seems appropriate to me that indicate that I am not going to be standing for re-election in May 2020. Ever since it all came about, people are saying

that they are still not sure what the role entails? Now, you were the very first one to be elected as well! Well, yes, it is an unusual role. It's a bit of an American idea. And the conservatives introduced it because they felt that the structure that we had before which was a Police Authority, the Conservatives felt that that was not sufficiently robust that it did not sufficiently hold Chief Constables who are very powerful individuals who carry a huge amount of responsibility and public safety.

They that the conservatives felt that the oversight and governance of those powerful Police Chiefs needed to be improved.

I didn't necessarily agree at the time that this was the way to do it. However, once a legislative change is made, one has to work with that and I believe my experiences

Northern Ireland as a Minister of State with responsibility for security and Policing, a lot of the experience from that could could properly be applied here in Merseyside. And I've tried to work with Moses our beliefs and its Chief Constables. In that vein, I've seen a lot of changes to how Policing has been implemented over your term. What do you think has been the most challenging? Is it the funding or what I think without question, it is the reduction in the number of people that are working for Merseyside Police in 2010 when austerity really started to bite. Merseyside Police has lost since then.

Approaching 2000 people well over 1600 fewer people working for Moses at least that includes well over 1000 fewer Police Officers

That difference has been felt by all new members of the public on who have acknowledged many times when I meet them, that they feel as if they see Police Officers very rarely now in comparison to what they used to see. But also within the Force itself. There is a greater sense of strain and a greater sense of being

increasingly challenged by crime, that has changed dramatically. And yet the numbers of Police Officers available to tackle that have reduced so for me, those are probably the that's the biggest change the fact that we have newer crime types, challenging criminal activity, serious violence on the increase in yet we have fewer people to deal with it. Do you think social media has affected the way Policing is and how's it affected you in your job?

That whole area of work social media, the the internet, the the use of the internet for cybercrime, or cyber enable crime is the Police call it those are big changes that have definitely started to increase in this in the scale of the challenge that they present to the Police. So the really frightening increasing numbers of people who view images of children being sexually abused online. They increase in the number of people particularly vulnerable older people who have fraud committed against them, but online fraudsters, all of those areas of crime are increasing. They require a considerable amount of resource to tackle and yet we have less of that resource available. I'm really pleased that this year, we're beginning to see that change and we are able to invest more in mercy sadly

This year, and the hopefully start to turn the corner so that we instead of reducing the number of officers, we can actually start to see the number of officers increase. And that is almost entirely down to the generosity of local people who have voted

who have indicated that they will be willing to pay more in their consultants. How have things changed as well, technically? How much input Have you had with things like the use of drones, the helicopter decision to remove it on or keep it? And over decisions? How much input do you have? I don't have a great deal of input into the actual decision. However, I do oversee the decision that the Force takes a lot of those decisions are critically important and operational. And consequently, my job is to hold the Chief Constable to account when he makes those decisions and both

For Chief Constables that I've worked with, so john Murphy, and now, Andy cook, both of those Chief Constables have been very open and transparent, particularly with me about why the decisions have been taken. And so that that enables me to explain and defend those decisions. When other people ask about that. Do you think that could be the way crime is being committed now? Do you think an emphasis should be placed more on the technical side or do you think is still needs Bobby's on the beat? It absolutely still needs Bobby's on the beat. And if I look at the way in which Government Ministers have been brought to acknowledge that this year, because of the increase in knife crime, the numbers of young people being affected, being injured being killed, that has brought them up short and made them realize how in the end unless they properly

firmed the big urban Forces were the the real, acute nature of the problem of knife crime and serious violence. That's where it's really felt. That's where we see the most numbers of victims. And it's led us to a position where they have accepted that they need to provide new money. And we're just waiting to hear over the next week or so, of how successful Merseyside has been in bidding for some of the extra hundred million pounds that the Government to say they're going to make available.

Now, another question that has been increasingly visible in the public eye is how do you actually influence kids nowadays because there's this idea that kids cannot be controlled by the Police. That, they are completely lawless and how do you think that can be tackled?

By your next

young people

have really important decisions to make not only decisions about what subjects to study at School, but decisions about how they interact with other young people in a social setting, whether it be out on the streets, or in nightclubs, or in just general activity. And increasingly my concern has been that young people have been choosing to carry a knife with them, in case they are confronted by somebody, perhaps in a larger group of people, or who is bigger and stronger than they are, and who is threatening them, and therefore they take a knife to protect themselves. That's what they tell us. What I want to get it to is a situation where young people are more worried about being caught with a knife because of the consequences of that.

being prosecuted for carrying a weapon is a serious crime and brings with it serious outcomes for the young people. And I want young people to be more afraid of that than they are being attacked by somebody with a knife. If we can get to that point, then young people will make that decision for themselves. Now, what we do is a range of things. And Moses, our beliefs often take the lead in this but they through the Schools offices that work with local Schools, through working with partners who take into Schools, examples of the consequences of of serious violence. Merseyside Police works to reduce the occasions on which knife crime takes place, and to to get your people to make the right decision. So they here on Merseyside, I have been really clear that I believe the Chiefs decision

To maintain the use of stop and search this power, which Police Officers have, if they have reasonable grounds for suspicion, they can stop a citizen and search that citizen. And it can be quite controversial. In some parts of the country, there has been a decrease in the number of times of Police Officers use that power

here on Merseyside. Police Officers have been encouraged to do it. They've been encouraged as long as it's done well, as long as the an explanation is given to the citizen as to why the power is being used. And we also monitor the occasions when it happens. So we independently review occasions when stopping searches used. The number of complaints we have on Merseyside is really low.

But at the same time we have fewer knife incidents. We haven't seen the significant increase that others

Force areas have had, we have seen an increase, but it hasn't been on the same scale, as, for example, West Midlands Police, Birmingham, or the the Metropolitan Police, which is the City of London and its region. So I'm happy to stand alongside the Chief Constable. And that's part of my role to say I believe that the power of stuff and search issues well and sensibly and it is having an effect. And I hope that the funding that we are hoping we'll get, we'll learn more stuff and search to be used and it will continue to be used well, and it will have the desired effect of making sure people realize there's a greater chance of them being caught with a knife and therefore leave the knife it Oh, that's what we wanted.

In the lives of Southport, we've never had such a high profile clients as we have had recently with

a raid on a jewellers with a vehicle being set fire to on Lord Street to mopeds being used. How do you think that is impacted on the local communities? And how do you tackle that? From our point of view with finding people and also committed them to longer sentences or anything? Do you think that you deserve sentences need looking at?

Well, first of all, it's a it's a feature and the fact that we have fewer Police Officers that are available to respond Sometimes, however they commit here on Merseyside to try to get to an emergency call within 10 minutes. That's their commitment. And it's really important that when the public call for Police help, and that call is based upon absolute dire emergency, somebody who is in real need of help

important that they get the response that they need at the time when they need it. However, what Moses at least has been Forced to do, as a result of the reduction in their available Officers is asked more questions of the public when they ring in. And so they will sometimes questions that do see

an important or it seems to the public quite frustrated that they're being asked questions, but actually it helps the Police establish just how big this emergency is and how quickly the Police need to get there. I understand that people in Southport do feel that the Police are further and further away from them, and they've ever been before. But that would be true of many communities across Merseyside where the Police are stretched and we have a much thinner blue line that we use.

To have. And I would just reassure if I can put public in Southport by saying that Merseyside Police maintain a very active and real Police presence in Southport. The Chief Constable is committed to maintain that long into the future. One of my priorities is for Merseyside Police to maintain that visible,

close presence in the communities. It will be stretched from time to time. But there is still really good day to day work that goes on. And please continue to reach out to Moses our Police to ask for help when you need it. Even if the Police judge it to be not a life or death emergency. They recorded all of their measure at the nature of it and the risk of it and they will respond. I think moving forward there will be a change in the way

Which the public and the concern of the public is recorded. There's a new complaints system that is likely to come in, in the next 18 months or so. So a new PCC is going to be required to start to collate that kind of information in their own system, as opposed to it being collected as part of a Police system. And that will require greater scrutiny. My concern about it has been that it's okay to measure complaints for people when they do get the service they expected. But if the Force don't have the resources to put the response in place, it almost causes even greater frustration. But that will be for a new PCC, and it will be a process that will be new to both the Police and the PCC system. So we'll see what happens with that leading on to legacy so greatly though in your speech and is that

Do you think the next PCC should be working more with things like home watch and stuff like that?

I've always encouraged neighbourhood watch her watch, whatever the organization is what Brad predominantly, it is neighbourhood watch. And I know that in Southport there's a really vibrant, active local organization, with my understanding was thousands of volunteers participating in it. Now what's really important is that not only the PCC a PCC should engage. It is absolutely common sense for PCC to engage with that. What's even more important is that the Police Force does because the people who can give enabled watch organization, the best information, the clearest advice, that's the Police Force. It's a professional organization that is responsible for keeping your community safe. So absolutely.

That's what a PCC going in. If they neglect that, then it's a pretty poor show. I have to say, I met neighbourhood watch organizations all over Merseyside. So are stronger than others. I do feel that we could do more to work with insurance companies to advertise the fact that you can get reductions in your home Policies, if insurance companies give allowances for neighbourhood watch, and that's not very well advertised. And that's something that he knew PCC could actively take forward.

Now, as you're leaving this role, what you set out for your future?
Personally, I'm looking forward to having

all of my time as my time, not just the time that I currently have at the end of the day or the weekend. So for me, I will be able to do all of those things that I have put on her

Until I reach retirement. Now, amongst those are obviously, the public will understand when I say genuinely want to spend time with two young granddaughters who are growing up extremely quickly. And I really do want to enjoy that piece of their time that otherwise working prevents you from Sherry. But there's a lot of other things I want. I want to be able to speak languages more fluently than I do other than English.

I want to learn, love to learn to paint. I'd love to learn to play the piano again. I learned it once. And as a little girl at School, lots of things. I'm going to be very happy to commit my time to which at the moment I sit there and just not enough hours in the day to do everything that I want to do. Legacy wise, what do you think has been your greatest legacy

I look back at my time with them.

disciple ease. I think the biggest change I have been able to bring as a Police Commissioner has been the shift in the efficiency of the Police buildings. And I'm proud of the fact that I was able to secure public support for a Police Estate strategy that that allow Merseyside Police to release old dilapidated buildings, many of which were very beautiful in their day, but we're no longer suitable and no longer able to be made to facilitate the Police and we're actually becoming a drag on resources. And and we haven't simply withdrawn from communities. We are replacing our Police Stations with new ones. So we have a Police Station going into n style station, which will allow Moses employees to dispose of

The old Edwardian brick building that we currently own, but which is close to the public and the public feel as if they know that building is close to them. And instead, we provide a modern, much smaller but much more effective facility on the station platform. And it's that approach that I'm proud of and wasn't able to be achieved by the Police Authority before me.

Thank you.


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