New crime commissioner Matthew Grove puts focus on Grimsby
HUMBERSIDE'S newly- elected Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Matthew Grove "hit the ground running" on the streets of Grimsby yesterday after officially taking on the role.
During a visit to the town's East Marsh, Mr Grove spoke with community leaders.
Explaining the choice of venue, Mr Grove said: "I chose the East Marsh not because it is an area with challenges and difficulties, but because it is an area that's rising to those challenges."
He described the work of the area's neighbourhood policing teams and its partner organisations as a "beacon" for others to follow, and praised North East Lincolnshire's Community Safety Partnership as the best he had seen.
During his tour of the ward, Mr Grove spoke to staff and volunteers at the Your Place community centre, in Wellington Street, and Shalom Youth Centre, in Rutland Street.
Chris Taylor, project manager at Your Place, said Mr Grove was very impressed with the skills programmes that are run for ex-offenders who are referred to the centre by the probation service.
She said: "One of the encouraging things about the visit was how he valued the work of the voluntary and community sector.
"The crime level is quite high and people are in fear of crime so it is really important that the East Marsh is focused upon.
"I think it is great that he took the time to look around and he showed a real interest in what we do and that was very encouraging."
The Rev John Ellis, project manager at the Shalom Youth Centre, added: "He was very impressed with the whole project and he congratulated us on what we were doing and said if we need any help in the future to get in touch with him.
"I didn't have any particular issues to raise with him as we have a very good working relationship with the police.
"It was a very positive visit and I hope we will keep in touch with him."
Speaking to the Grimsby Telegraph prior to his tour of the ward, Mr Grove revealed that he had already instructed his staff to advertise for a new chief constable to replace Tim Hollis, who will retire in March.
During a press conference at Grimsby Neighbourhood Centre, Mr Grove said: "I want to do everything I can to keep the people of East Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire safe. Crimes are being committed as we speak. There is no breathing space, no time to settle in, we have to hit the ground running."
He admitted his manifesto – which includes billing drunken troublemakers for police time used – was ambitious, but said: "I don't think the people of this area want me to play safe. They want us to take risks in order to protect them as best we can."
Mr Grove said he was inheriting an organisation with firm foundations, but added: "While we have had significant reductions in crime, there are areas such as violent crime and sexual crime that are unacceptably high. These are crimes that devastate people's lives and we have to do more to tackle them."
Appearing alongside Mr Grove at yesterday's press conference, chief constable Tim Hollis said he was relieved that the period of uncertainty which surrounded the PCC elections was over, but expressed confidence that the new position, which has replaced the Humberside Police Authority, would work.
He said: "I did feel apprehensive when there was talk of mandates, turnouts and personalities because I feared it might undermine the public's confidence in the police.
"I'm glad that uncertainty is over and as from today we can look forward in a positive fashion. I'm looking forward to ensuring a smooth transition both to the new PCC and my successor and between them I am confident they will continue to build on some solid foundations."
See tomorrow's Telegraph for a question and answer with Mr Grove, and Monday for a feature on Alan Hardwick's plans for Lincolnshire Police.