Well we are now only 3 weeks away from the PCC elections and the pace is hotting up. The hustings have started and the candidates are all starting to make their views known. Firstly however can I just take this opportunity to thank all the volunteers who have hand delivered 50,000 cards and 50,000 of my PCC magazines! I should also mention how delighted I was to see that the government have heard our demands for action to be taken about sex offenders and those who commit acts of serious violence to be at last convicted for life imprisonment on their second conviction. Hopefully we will never ever have another incident like the tragic murder of Mrs Richardson in Hexham in 2011 by a known and convicted psychopath like Derek Jarman who should never have been released from prison in the first place.
I had my second action day yesterday and this time I concentrated on the links between alcohol and crime. Crime is at record low levels so the challenge for PCC’s is how to drive it down even further, not easy. However one way is to address this regions obsession with alcohol. We have the highest levels of liver disease and hospital admissions, which is costing the taxpayer millions of pounds. Plus 50% of all crime is linked to alcohol, as is 50% of all serious violence, 45% of domestic violence and 1 in 6 police officers are assaulted because of it.
The key I believe is to reduce its affordability, availability and desirability. So yesterday I vested, Spice FM radio, Mary Angelou Centre, spoke to Safe Newcastle and visited the Tyneside Rape Crisis Centre. It became clear to me that all of us are affected by the detrimental affects of alcohol. I’m not preaching about this because during this process I learned that I’m a self confessed binge drinker! In other words I wait until a Friday or Saturday night to have a drink of beer, glass of wine with a meal or in the winter a wee dram. I suppose none of us are ever too old or wise to learn!
So onwards and upwards, lots more public events to come to yet before the big day. I wish you all well and hope that you and your families stay safe and please remember the 15th of November and get out there, make your own choice and please vote!