Welcome to my first blog since the campaign began. And what a week it's been!
I've been in meetings with businesses, minority groups and ladies' groups across the West Midlands. The social media activity has kicked off in earnest, and we're now moving on to the next stages of the campaign. I've also been collating the comments and suggestions on crime and policing which I'll be sharing these more widely soon. I have to say - the feedback has been fantastic so far, with lots of you coming forward with ideas and views from both a policing and community perspective so thank you. Keep 'em coming!
Last night I took part in a 'live' debate about PCCs on Radio Coventry Plus in my first official broadcast of the election. Talk about nervous (!) But it was great to be able to talk about what my approach to the role will be and to hear what fellow candidates had to say.
I'm itching for a series of proper debates and I think there needs to be far more work across the media to raise the profile of the PCC election. Not only so that people know what each candidate represents in terms of approach, but also how each of us would perform the role of PCC if elected. Last night's debate showed that there is common ground between us. But it also highlighted clear differences in priorities once in post, and I think that's what people will want to see more of...
Well, I'm officially on ‘the campaign trail’ now until November, and I'll be providing regular updates, getting out and about and asking for your views. I'll let you know when I'm in your area, and would love to see you so do come along and join the debate. And if you'd like to get in touch with me directly then my door's always open.
Thank you to all of you for the lovely messages of support - much appreciated!
Cath's Corner - your blog questions answered
For those of you following my blog, you'll know that Mary has asked a question about how I'll support victims in Birmingham as there are so many. Good question!
As PCC, my priorities here would be to talk to people to get their views and input, backing up insight with substantive research, with the aim being to deliver a more comprehensive programme of support of victims and witnesses as a result. I'd start by referring to in-depth research about victims in the West Midlands. I'd also inform policy through listening to Victim Support and other support organisations who hold a huge wealth of knowledge on this subject, and with feedback from the public, too. For me, the views and real-life experiences of local people are crucial if we're to make a lasting, positive impact on crime and safety. By taking all of these things into consideration and approaching victim support in this way, my aim would be to introduce a structure which is scalable, but also flexible enough to take into account the needs of specific local areas of the West Midlands.