After eight 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 Commissioner election on 6th May 2021.
Alun has used his vast experience to lead South Wales Police through a period of major challenges – with deep financial cuts dictated by Central Government – and he’s worked closely with the Chief Constable and his team to build powerful alliances with Welsh Government, 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 tackle Domestic Violence and Abuse and to intervene quickly with young offenders and women offenders to prevent re-offending, with a focus on protecting vulnerable people and supporting victims. And it provided the firm foundations for a mature policing response to the challenge of COVID-19 based on close cooperation with Welsh Government and Local Government partners.
His initiatives are also helping other public services : The HelpPoint established to help prevent harm in Swansea’s night life – currently suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic – 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.
In March 2020 the funds ran out for the pilot DRIVE programme for tackling the perpetrators of serious domestic violence and abuse – but the benefits from the pilots in Merthyr and Cardiff were so positive in terms of reducing violence and demand that Alun decided – with the support of the Chief Constable – to not only continue the programme but to extend it across all seven local authorities of South Wales and despite the challenge of COVID-19 the roll-out has been achieved.
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.
- During his time as Deputy Home Secretary Alun took the Crime and Disorder Act through the House of Commons – establishing Youth Offending Teams, the Youth Justice Board and setting up Community Safety Partnerships across England and 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’s team a power-house for community safety, co-operation and social justice.
In eight years as Police & Crime Commissioner Alun has created firm foundations and has set out a clear and ambitious vision for the future in his Police & Crime Plan, published in December 2020.
Keeping promises – Keeping you safe
Details on how my 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 December.
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 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.
- I respond positively to new challenges. The year of COVID-19 was one of the most challenging years ever for South Wales Police – but we adapted to it and our officers and staff have done a wonderful job of working with our communities. Ministers in Welsh Government and Local Authority Leaders have worked with us and so have other agencies in the Criminal Justice System. This really has been a year of Cooperation in which Wales has shown a true sense of public service and community. I’m proud to have played a role in making it happen.
The official webpage for the South Wales Police & Crime Commissioner is here:
Find out what some of the people supporting Alun have to say here.