Police commissioner cleans up Wisbech streets with volunteer cadets... and discusses his first month in the role
PUBLISHED: 16:26 23 June 2016
Police and Crime Commissioner Jason Ablewhite joined Police Volunteer Cadets from Wisbech on a busy litter pick in the town centre earlier this month.
To celebrate National Volunteers’ Week police cadets across the county were busy helping to make their communities safer.
Caroline Scully, volunteer police cadet leader, said: “I could not be more proud of the cadets and their commitment to their community.
“They decided on this idea themselves, organised it during their weekly sessions, invited other local groups to assist and arranged for all the equipment they needed. “They extended the session to give maximum benefit to the event and I am so pleased with how much they managed to achieve as a group.”
Police and Crime Commissioner Jason Ablewhite said: “I was thrilled to be asked and thoroughly enjoyed rolling my sleeves up.
“The energy and enthusiasm of the cadets was very impressive so it was certainly a good work out.”
The office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, alongside Cambridgeshire Constabulary, offers a variety of ways for volunteers to get involved to help create safer, stronger and more supportive communities.
Jason Ablewhite speaks about his first month as Police and Crime Commissioner
June 12 marked exactly one month since I started in the role. On my first day, May 12, I spent the morning walking the streets of Cambridge with front line officers. In those first two hours I met people weighed down with shopping bags, a group doing community payback and homeless people living in disused garages. Like most places, there are many sides to Cambridge.
I want my role to be as visible as possible both to the public and to the staff and officers of Cambridgeshire Constabulary.
This is why I spent the majority of my first month meeting as many people as possible across the county in order to get a feel for people’s views and also to understand challenges faced by the constabulary.
Then I found myself walking the streets of Cambridge, but this time during a night shift with the city team. Did it open my eyes? Was I shocked or surprised? Well, yes and no. I know about the problems that occur in towns and cities across the country on a Saturday night, but seeing it up close, from the police perspective, you really appreciate what a fantastic job they do.
Nearly all the problems were alcohol fuelled, mostly young men drinking far too much and then taunting each other and sometimes coming to blows.
Overall the incidents were few and far between but because of the licensing laws, the problems seemed to peak between 2am and 3am. This stretches the policing requirement over a much longer period than in the days before the relaxation in licensing laws.
From attending noisy parties that were annoying the neighbours to giving a breath test to someone driving erratically, officers demonstrated incredible integrity with the most common comment of the night being “thank you”.
I haven’t just been to Cambridge. I’ve travelled across the county in the last four weeks and have spent time in March and Wisbech. I have listened into 999 calls in the Force Control Room and 101 calls in the Police Service Centre. I have been to the Victims’ Hub, attended the Chief Constable’s Commendation Awards, been litter picking with the Wisbech Volunteer Police Cadets and toured a number of police stations. I have met with colleagues from neighbouring forces to discuss collaborative working across the region and I have seen how we are embracing new technology such smart phones, tablets, body-worn video cameras and drones to improve our efficiency and effectiveness.
I have been hugely impressed with the skills and commitment of both the team in my office and those I have met from the constabulary. As I meet more and more people from different organisations, I can see a similar passion from them and a desire to work together for the greater good.
There is a continual battle to address the typical concerns of most people – such as traffic issues and anti-social behaviour – with the more focussed work of protecting the most vulnerable members of the community from abuse whether that be domestic abuse, sexual exploitation or cybercrime.
I see this as the beginning of a new era. We have a new chief constable, deputy chief constable, assistant chief constable and – of course – a new police and crime commissioner. I look forward to serving all the people of Cambridgeshire in the years ahead and welcome your thoughts and ideas about what you want to see to keep Cambridgeshire safe.