An Irish woman with more than 30 years experience on the West Midlands police force is hoping to be elected as the region’s first Police and Crime Commissioner next month. On November 15 the country will be expected to come out and choose their preferred candidate for the new post in elections held in the 43 police forces locations across Britain.
Former Detective Superintendent Cath Hannon is standing as an independent candidate for the new role, which has responsibilities for setting the police budget for each force and deciding what its priorities and strategy should be. The four-year-post, with an annual salary of £100,000, replaces the former Police Authority framework and is designed to increase accountability of every force to the communities they serve. For Ms Hannon the community will indeed be her boss — and she will remain devoted to serving them first and foremost if elected to the role.
“The new post of Police and Crime Commissioner is going to change how policing is delivered in communities,” she said. “We need to ensure that the public are aware of this, that they come out and vote and that they pick the best candidate. For me I have one sole aim — to provide for the West Midlands police staff and collective family, and the residents of the West Midlands, to be in the best position to work together so criminals and crime can be conquered. I have got more than 30 years service with West Midlands Police, so I have extensive knowledge of the force. I worked my way up from being a bobby on the street to the role of Detective Superintendent responsible for public protection so I have a unique insight into police organisation and culture.”
“I will be effective from day one; I know the patch, I know the people, I have lived in West Midlands all my life and I understand how the different component parts of police and communities can work together.”
And there are particular issues the candidate — whose parents hail from Co. Galway — wants to face.
“Cutting crime has to be on the agenda,” she said. “That’s one of the focuses of the job, trying to ensure the right services and resources are in place at the right time. Essentially making sure when the public needs an officer or member of the police family they are available, appropriately trained and when they arrive they are able to deal with the issue there and then. The main issue for day to day policing is that it’s a process applied to people — people should come first, whether in the community or in policing, the most important aspect is having processes that work for people, not the other way round.”
But for the independent candidate the biggest challenge being faced in the inaugural PCC elections is to get people out to vote on November 15. “We must raise awareness so that as many people come out and vote as possible across the country, as this new post which is going to change the face of policing in these communities.
“Another reason the West Midlands community should vote for me, is because I am standing as an independent and I am untouched by party politics, so the only boss I would have would be the community.”