Katy Bourne: One year on as top police boss

Katy Bourne, PCC for Sussex. Taken at County Hall, Lewes. 11/10/13
Katy Bourne, PCC for Sussex. Taken at County Hall, Lewes. 11/10/13

POLICE and crime commissioner for Sussex, Katy Bourne, will have been in the role for one year tomorrow.

POLICE and crime commissioner for Sussex, Katy Bourne, will have been in the role for one year tomorrow.

The elected role replaces police commissioning authorities, which make a police plan, control the budget and scrutinise the chief constable.

“I saw this as a unique opportunity to represent the public’s interests in the fight against crime,” said Mrs Bourne, who earns £85,000 a year in the job.

“I believe everyone in Sussex has the right to feel safe on the streets and in their homes, which is why my Police and Crime Plan reflects the priorities that local people have told me matter to them.”

The priorities Mrs Bourne is focusing on include 
driving down crime, putting victims first, increasing public confidence in the police and value for money in the force.

She said one of her successes was opening recruitment in the force for the first time in three years, with 80 new police officers, 30 PCSOs and 120 special constables joining the ranks.

Another of Mrs Bourne’s big pushes is fighting domestic abuse.

“I was elected on a manifesto pledge to tackle domestic abuse and this will remain a key priority during my term in office.

“Domestic abuse is still largely a hidden crime, occurring behind closed doors. I am fully supportive of the work of Sussex Police and our partners as they strengthen efforts to change the culture of abuse and behaviour and ensure that victims do not suffer in silence.”

She also said crime in Sussex has reduced since her election, and the force had launched schemes such as Operation Magpie to target burglary.

But it hasn’t all been smooth sailing. Mrs Bourne was criticised for taking on Steve Waight as her deputy in February, despite the panel that scrutinises her work deciding not to recommend him for the £45,000 post.

Just four months later, he quit the job, and said he felt ‘undervalued’. He has not been replaced.