Posted: Thursday 7th November 2013
There’s never a dull day in this job and the past few weeks have whizzed by with a number of exciting announcements and launches to strengthen our crime reduction goals. One of the most significant developments this autumn has been the release of my first Alcohol Strategy which is the result of months of preparation and discussion between myself, retailers, the general public and all those agencies in Nottinghamshire tasked with responding to alcohol misuse including our partners in the health and voluntary sector.
The Alcohol Strategy, currently in draft form, represents a huge leap forward in terms of tackling problematic alcohol use in the city and county. We will all be working much more closely together in the future and sharing information to achieve the same goals as well as utilising innovative approaches trialled elsewhere in the country in an effort to reduce the impact of this issue on relationships, families, taxpayers and society in general.
The Strategy has been inspired by conversations that arose during this summer’s Alcohol Conference which brought together a multitude of agencies and experts to discuss how joint problem-solving could help reduce alcohol abuse and crime. It has also been heavily influenced by the public’s feedback during our survey between May and September which identified overwhelming support for tougher controls on alcohol sales.
It is a document with substance and contains a detailed action plan that will see concrete changes such as additional licensing officers and increased proactive compliance visits introduced in the future. The next few months will be exciting as we move into the implementation phase and I look forward to reporting our progress at a later date.
As I’ve discussed before, alcohol abuse is often the result of other social problems including unemployment and poverty. This month we’ve declared our commitment to tackling poverty by signing up to a national campaign calling for all workers to be paid an hourly rate that matches the cost of living. We are the first police force in England and Wales to join this excellent initiative and I announced the news in Market Square earlier this month as the Living Wage Foundation celebrated Living Wage Week. It means that all employees of the force and my own staff will receive at least the Living Wage or higher and any contractors working indirectly for the organisation will be requested to adopt the same standards.
Essentially, the Living Wage Foundation encourages employers to sign up to a pledge to provide workers with a salary which ensures their family can afford the basic essentials of life. The ‘Living Wage’ is an hourly rate which is set annually (outside London) by the Centre of Social Policy at Loughborough University, which takes greater account of the cost of living and allows families to live above the poverty line. I’m immensely proud of the commitment we have made to this campaign. This is an ethical decision and as a police force I think it’s hugely important that we lead by example.
Finally, I’d like to give a mention to the positive steps we have taken to protect the future of our retired police dogs. Earlier this month, I approved the launch of a Police Dog Pension Scheme which will cover the medical costs of retired police dogs for three years following their service. These dogs have provided sterling service over the years to protect the public and it’s only right that they will receive continuing medical help once they hang up their leads. We all appreciate the work they have carried out to make Nottinghamshire safer and this is one way of ensuring they enjoy retirement.