Posted: Thursday 2nd May 2013
Talking about crime is something I do every day in this job but often the best insight into what’s really going on is to put yourself right where the action is – which is exactly what I did last week. As part of my investigation into the impact of the night-time economy, and specifically binge-drinking, on crime levels I took a trip to the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham to see for myself the intense pressures faced by health staff as a result of excessive alcohol consumption. These health professionals are spending more and more of their working hours mopping up the effects of too much alcohol whether this is drunken injuries or assaults or the health complications caused by irresponsible drinking. Many of them find themselves up against frightening and potentially violent patients when they are simply trying to do their job.
Thankfully for the staff on duty during my visit, it was a quiet night and this meant I could talk to them at length about their experiences of dealing with such patients and how the police can protect them better. I learnt that the scale of the problem as far as alcohol-related admissions goes is likely to be much worse than official figures show as alcohol is often a contributing factor to an injury or health problem and not recorded as the cause. Alcohol costs the taxpayer in so many ways, from the additional policing we need to put in place on a Friday and Saturday night through to the cost of putting an offender in custody and the costs of their treatment or a victim’s treatment to the NHS. We need to address these issues now and my experiences in A & E will certainly provide value as we look more deeply into possible solutions.
Being Commissioner clearly isn’t a desk-bound job but I never imagined being thrown into jail in my first full year! That’s exactly what is going to happen in a couple of weeks unless I can convince the public to feel sorry for me and put up my £1,000 bail money! It’s all in aid of Framework, a charity which supports homeless people in Nottinghamshire by providing accommodation and support services to help them rebuild their lives. I am delighted to be able to help them in their fundraising efforts and details on how to donate are available at http://www.frameworkha.org/support_us/fundraising/jail_bail/paddy_tipping and clicking on the ‘Bail Him Out’ button at the bottom of the page or they can text a donation - PADT13 £amount to the number 70070.
Elsewhere, I’ve continued my quest to find out what concerns you most about crime. In Cuckney, I met with parish councils to discuss rural policing issues, speeding and anti-social behaviour. I also visited Calverton’s first Play Day, a thoroughly enjoyable event despite the rain.