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Police & Crime Commissioner election: Sherma Batson - Labour
LABOUR candidate Sherma Batson says she fears allowing a private company to take over the running of police support roles will change the emphasis of policing away from fighting crime in favour of making a profit.
Councillor Batson sat on the Hertfordshire Police Authority from 2005 to 2009 and held the role of chairman of community engagement.
She says time spent talking to people in the community has given her a a clear idea of what people want from their police.
She added: “I don’t support handing back office services to a private company. The staff we have supporting the police are dedicated, well trained and ready for anything. They are there to offer a complete service to the officers out there on the streets.
“I don’t believe a private company such as G4S will have that same dedication or loyalty and the people that work for them won’t feel the same about the job they are doing.
“I can think that making cuts is going to improve the service, I think it’s actually going to reduce the service they get.
"The officers won’t feel as confident working with people who might well end up being on the minimum wage and might not have the right background to support the uniformed officers.”
Councillor Batson called for further consultation in the proposal to impose an Early Morning Alcohol Restriction Order (EMRO) on Watford’s nightlife.
“I can understand why the council would have reservations (about approving an EMRO) because obviously sales of alcohol would go down for local businesses but there are real concerns about the abuse of alcohol in the area and that develops into possible antisocial behaviour,” she said.
“As police and crime commissioner I would be talking to the mayor of Watford specifically, obviously the constabulary and the crime reduction partnership to see what is going on and what is best for this town. It’s not just the businesses, it’s the people that are suffering as a result of anti-social behaviour.”