The Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner and former senior police officer Julian Sandham has announced plans to stand as an independent candidate in the elections to appoint a new North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner.
Mr Sandham, 58, who had a long and distinguished career with North Wales Police, concluded his term as Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner last week. Legislation requires serving PCC staff to resign from their post before formal nomination as a candidate.
His decision comes after current Police and Crime Commissioner Winston Roddick confirmed his intention not to stand again. Mr Sandham said: “I believe the Commissioner has done a great job – his approach has been right for North Wales and that is something I want to continue.”
An experienced police officer and criminal justice expert, Mr Sandham served North Wales Police for 33 years – the last nine of which were as Chief Superintendent. Among his high-profile posts were Divisional Commander of Central Division and Head of Criminal Justice for the Force.
Following completion of his police service, the former Ysgol Glanwydden and Ysgol John Bright pupil was appointed project manager for Conwy County Borough Council’s regional CCTV collaboration and later lectured in police studies at the Midlands Academy of Business and Technology.
In his role as Deputy PCC, Mr Sandham has helped to oversee the implementation of the last two Police and Crime Plans for North Wales, prioritising neighbourhood policing and focusing on the concerns and needs of local people. He has also played a leading role in the creation of the North Wales Victim Help Centre, transforming the support and response to vulnerable victims of crime.
“I am not a member of any political party – my allegiance is with the public and I will put local people first every time,” he said.
“We’ve battled funding cuts and unprecedented demand in the last few years along with new and sophisticated criminal threats. It is because of these very difficult challenges that we now have such a strong and focused Force dedicated to protecting the public at all costs. We’ve also sought to protect frontline strength at all costs.
“North Wales needs continuity and if elected I fully intend to build on the strong foundations that have already been laid.
“My commitment is straightforward: I will work to ensure people are secure in their homes and safe in public places. By working together, I want us to have the safest communities it is possible to have. As an experienced senior police officer, I’ve been at the helm of dynamic operational changes that have reduced crime and brought more offenders to justice which makes me uniquely qualified for this position.
“North Wales needs a strong and knowledgeable leader that has a proven track record of cutting to the heart of the matter and confidently holding the Force and the Chief Constable to account – someone who understands policing and isn’t afraid to challenge when necessary.
“The public are a vital ally in the journey towards crime-free communities and I want to continue working with local residents to build a healthier and safer North Wales.”
In his manifesto, Mr Sandham outlines five key commitments to improve public safety; maintaining a modern policing service; protecting and helping vulnerable people; prioritisingneighbourhood policing; encouraging effective partnerships and listening to what people tell him as well as acting upon their concerns.
The married father of one, who lives in Penrhyn Bay, is particularly keen to expand the use ofbody-worn video equipment which he regards as a superior evidence-gathering and crime deterrent tool and is focused on fighting budget cuts that impact on critical areas of operational work including neighbourhood policing, organised crime and terrorism.
He also intends to boost crime prevention facilities and to protect children and victims ofunderreported crimes such as domestic abuse, hate crime and Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE). He regards effective partnerships as key within the community to jointly solve problems. This includes overseeing the launch of local community safety problem-solving groups across the region which are empowered to deal dynamically with local problems and collaborating with other police forces to achieve greater value from taxpayers’ money.
Appointed to his role of Deputy PCC in December 2013, Mr Sandham attaches special significance to the work he did to establish the North Wales Victim Help Centre. “This was an opportunity to revolutionise the way support is given to victims of crime in North Wales and I do feel we’ve enabled that step forward by setting up the Victim Help Centre at St Asaph,” he said.
“In the first six months, the unit took on over 9,300 cases and over 5,200 victims received enhanced support because they were vulnerable or repeat victims. It has been a good move to include specialist provision of support to hate crime victims and victims with mental health problems.”
Asked what he sees as the biggest changes in police governance over the last four years, he points to one major issue: ‘many more people now engage and want to communicate with their Police and Crime Commissioner’.
On the issue of police scrutiny, Mr Sandham said his prior policing experience put him in an ideal position to supervise the effectiveness of the Force for the public. “I have already completed scrutiny work and held the Force to account with regard to its GoSafe speed camera activities, handling of non-emergency 101 calls, burglary and its engagement with communities,” he added.
He recognises that North Wales is one of the safest places to live, work and visit but he is keen to point out that he does not under-estimate the task of maintaining this. “Recorded crime reduced by 17% between 2010 and 2015 which is good when you compare it to the England and Wales average of 13%,” he said. “I understand policing and I want to protect the police from the risk of further cuts. I want to maintain a visible presence and the police stations we have across North Wales.”
For more information on Mr Sandham’s campaign visit: www.sandham4pcc.org.uk