After three successful years as the Police & Crime Commissioner for South Wales Alun Michael has been chosen to be the Labour & Co-operative candidate for the next Police Commissioner election on 5th May 2016.
Alun has used his vast experience to lead South Wales Police through a period of major challenges – with deep cuts dictated by Central Government – and he’s worked closely with the Chief Constable and his team to build powerful alliances with the health service, with the seven local authorities of South Wales, and with voluntary & community groups to make the communities of South Wales safe.
This deeply-embedded partnership approach is now paying dividends for the people of South Wales, with initiatives helping to cut violence against women and girls, to intervene quickly with young offenders and women offenders to prevent re-offending, and a focus on protecting vulnerable people and supporting victims.
His initiatives are also helping other public services : The HelpPoint established to help prevent harm in Swansea’s night life has saved some 1,300 ambulance journeys in a year as well as preventing almost as many admissions to Accident and Emergency and enabling police officers back on the streets to keep the peace instead of looking after vulnerable people. He has praised the work of student volunteers and St John whose work has enabled the HelpPoint to support Swansea Council’s bid to make Swansea known as a safe place to enjoy a night out.
Alun’s experience is highly relevant :
- After his first career as a newspaper reporter and becoming an active trade unionist, he became a youth worker in Cardiff for 15 years, working with young offenders and unemployed young people as well as chairing the Juvenile Bench for the City and being a leading member of Cardiff City Council.
- In 1987 he succeeded Jim Callaghan as MP for Cardiff South & Penarth. During 25 years as an MP he served as Policing Minister and Deputy Home Secretary, entered the Cabinet as Secretary of State for Wales and then became the first First Minister for Wales.
- Later he was Minister of State for Rural Affairs, responsible for National Parks, introducing the Hunting Act to end the cruelty associated with hunting with dogs, and implementing the “Right to Roam”. As Minister of State for Industry and the Regions, he promoted regional development and played a leading role at the World Summit on the Information Society.
- After leaving Government he played an active role on the Justice Select Committee, the Welsh Affairs Select Committee and the Home Affairs Select Committee. He also chaired All-Party Groups on Corporate Governance, the Internet, Waterways and the Voluntary Sector, while pursuing international issues through the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and the all-Party Group for Somaliland.
- When the Government decided to create the role of Police & Crime Commissioner, Alun was concerned about the impact on policing in South Wales. So he resigned as an MP to contest the first election in 2012 – determined to provide strong support for the police through the threatened period of deep cuts while creating an environment of co-operation and partnership to reduce crime and disorder in South Wales. He’s made the Commissioner role a power-house for community safety, co-operation and social justice.
After three years in the role of Police & Crime Commissioner Alun has created firm foundations and has set out a clear vision for the future in his Police & Crime Plan, published in January 2016.
He has set out six clear pledges to the people of South Wales, setting out his intentions if he is re-elected on May 5th.
My Pledges to You
- Cutting crime in co-operation with all public agencies
- Making your community safer by keeping policing local
- Protecting the most vulnerable in our communities
- Spending your money wisely to protect your local police team
- Challenging the criminal justice system to meet the needs of victims
- Playing a part nationally and in tackling online threats
Keeping promises – Keeping you safe
Details on how these pledges will be delivered, in co-operation with the Chief Constable and operational police officers as well as partners in the health service and local councils and communities across South Wales are spelled out in the Police and Crime Plan which Alun published in January.
Alun launching his re-election campaign in Merthyr with Dawn Bowden, Health Service Officer for Unison in Wales, who has welcomed his commitment to staff and to co-operation and joint action with the National Health Service in South Wales
Commenting on his experience and plans for the future, Alun says ……….
- I have spent all my working life in South Wales : I started my career as a reporter on the South Wales Echo, then worked as a youth worker in Cardiff, before serving as a councillor and then MP for Cardiff South & Penarth for 25 years. I was Secretary of State for Wales and First Secretary of the Welsh Assembly and worked across the South Wales area. I have been a leading member of the Welsh Affairs Select Committee in Parliament.
- My political roots are in making local communities more powerful. I was a Youth & Community Worker for many years and it was my experience of working with young offenders and unemployed young people in Butetown, Grangetown, Llanrumney and Ely that brought me into politics. I was also a Youth Magistrate and chaired the Cardiff Juvenile Bench. As an MP I have helped local communities to stand up to powerful authorities, such as the four-year campaign to stop Cardiff Council building on the Rumney Recreation Ground. That’s the in-depth experience that has enabled me to create strong foundations in my first period as Police & Crime Commissioner for South Wales.
- I have a proven track record on policing issues. As Deputy to the Shadow Home Secretary – first Tony Blair and then Jack Straw – I developed Labour’s policies on Youth Justice, Policing, Crime Reduction Partnerships and the Voluntary Sector. In 1997 I became Deputy Home Secretary, and established local crime reduction partnerships, youth offending teams, the Youth Justice Board and Anti-Social Behaviour Orders. As a member of the Home Affairs Select Committee I contributed to a series of reports on policing issues and a major investigation of the riots of August 2011. I was also a member of the expert delegation to examine gang-related crime, radicalisation and elected police chiefs in Los Angeles in 2011.
- I’m always looking to the future. It takes time to create an environment in which partnership and co-operation can flourish, but I’ve had tremendous co-operation from Labour Leaders in local government as well as their professional officers and from the Health Service and many others, particularly police officers, PCSOs and a range of staff in South Wales Police. It’s going to continue being tough but with a real sense of common purpose I’m confident that we can continue to drive an agenda of reducing crime, increasing public safety, protecting the vulnerable and making the whole of South Wales an even better place to live.
The Police & Crime Commissioner is not meant to be a police officer – the Commissioner depends on the policing skills of the Chief Constable and the police officers of every rank across South Wales. The Commissioner’s role is to be a voice for the communities of South Wales, to have a grass-roots understanding of local needs and the impact of crime on vulnerable people, and to have a strategic vision of what needs to be done to keep our communities safe. I believe I have shown that I meet these requirements while protecting police officers and staff from the worst impact of Central Government cuts and building partnerships with Welsh Government and its agencies, as well as Local Government and Voluntary & Community groups, to make South Wales safer. Firm foundations have been laid for success and positive developments in the next four years and that’s why I am now seeking re-election on May 5th 2016.
Alun campaigning in Butetown, where he was once a youth worker, along with Deputy Health Minister Vaughan Gething (left) and local councillor Ali Ahmed.
Alun with his successor as MP for Cardiff South & Penarth, Stephen Doughty