Wakefield Express Column

The rain we’ve had these past couple of weeks is a real pain for politicians and our volunteers, when one of our main tasks is getting out and about. Don’t worry, I’m not expecting sympathy, but contrary to popular opinion delivering letters and speaking to voters in the area doesn’t stop once the election is over.

As soon as I got back from Labour Party conference last weekend I joined our hardworking volunteers on the doorstep (luckily in one of the bursts of sunshine), where I heard from a couple who have recently been burgled.

Did you know that the locks on certain types of UPVC doors are particularly easily broken?Well burglars do, and now the couple I spoke to at the weekend do too. These weak locks can be replaced easily, and the neighbourhood police who came round have advised householders in the area to get their locks checked. Thankfully, crime is going down, but when it happens to you it is really upsetting – more so when it is easily preventable.

When I last met our neighbourhood policing teams two weeks ago, they told me they are working with a charity called Community Action and Support Against Crime to protect homes in the area. You can arrange a free security check of your home by calling 0845 519 2122.

I meet with the neighbourhood police regularly, because policing is one of the most important issues for our community.

That’s also why I’ve launched a consultation with local residents about changes to the way policing is organised in West Yorkshire. When big changes like these are being discussed, it’s important we listen to people’s views about what is working well, and what still needs improving.

The government has set out plans to scrap the West Yorkshire Police Authority, which is made up of local representatives and magistrates from across the region. The plan is to replace it with one elected ‘Police Commissioner’ with responsibility for the whole of West Yorkshire, at a cost of around £100million – the equivalent of 600 frontline police officers.

The government think electing the head of police in the region is the best way to make the force responsive to the public. I’m not convinced. I think local accountability is achieved with a policing team who know the area and work well with residents.

Please do let us hear your views. We’re working hard to get the survey to as many households as possible. It is being hand delivered over the next few weeks by volunteers – weather permitting.

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Posted October 8th, 2010 by Ed's team