What will YOU do to tackle crime in region?
QThis is a huge transition in the way policing is done. How would you forge relationships with powerful figures?
A Someone told me that police constables are [dominant] like silverback gorillas but I have two advantages. One, I will have the power of hiring and firing them, although it is a weapon you would never want to use. Two, I hold the purse strings on your behalf, and the power is where the money is.
QHow are you going to maintain police morale with impending cuts?
A People can handle a little change but we should have made changes 30 years ago and now we have it all happening in one go. All I can do is speak to officers on the ground and make sure I am aware of any issues. Hopefully, once we get these elections out of the way, we can get back to concentrating on the positive work of police officers which I hope will improve morale.
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Q What are your opinions on the prevent agenda?
A Prevention is key. The public often come to me with solutions such as "we need a pelican crossing outside a school". What they actually have is a road safety problem. Sometimes uniformed officers are not the answer and we need to look at other options. Uniformed officers outside a school will not stop a paedophile – what we need is geeky tech guys in t-shirts, working online to trap these people. We cannot just throw money at crime to reduce it, we need to make sure that money is being spent in the most effective way possible.
QWill your party politics conflict with your duty to represent the people of Humberside?
A For me it is always people first and party second. I don't agree with all policy being decided in London and I will not be Theresa May's puppet. In fact, she told me personally, 'you have sharp elbows Matthew – use them'. The country is running out of money and we cannot keep racking up debt for our children and grandchildren, and even the last Labour government agreed with cutting the police budget. We need to stop defining the force by how much money it has and start concentrating on the work that it does.
Q What is your view on officers working with other agencies on early intervention strategies for young people?
A Partnership gets rid of the cracks that criminals can fall through. Working with other agencies can free up time for officers to make life very difficult for those serious, persistent offenders.
Q It seems that police officers feel as though they can do what they like. Do you agree that the Independent Police Complaints Commission is inadequate?
A I experienced this for myself when I announced my candidacy. I got a very abusive email from an officer but when I made a complaint against this man, who was blackening the name of 1,700 proud officers, I was told that it did not breach the code of conduct. With the nature of their work, they are quite inward looking and we need to break this attitude down. Events like Hillsborough ruin public trust in the police and we need to be building this confidence. It's a difficult balancing act but we need to address the culture of the police.