Sir Graham Bright Cambridgeshire Police Crime Commissioner First Interview

08:40 Monday 19th November 2012
Bigger Breakfast Show
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire


PAUL STAINTON: Only fifteen per cent of us bothered to turn out on Friday and put a cross in one of the two boxes it would seem. Even less of us wanted the role in the first place. But despite that, Cambridgeshire got its first ever Police and Crime Commissioner this Friday. Here was the moment when the first winner was announced (TAPE)
RETURNING OFFICER: I therefore give notice that Sir Graham Bright the Conservative Party candidate is duly elected as the Police and Crime Commissioner for the Cambridgeshire Police area. (CHEERS) (LIVE)
PAUL STAINTON: That was the moment. So what challenges does Sir Graham face? And with just fifteen per cent of you taking part in the vote and showing any interest at all, has the new Commissioner got any credibility at all? Let’s speak to Sir Graham. Morning Sir Graham.
GRAHAM BRIGHT: Good morning to you.
PAUL STAINTON: Well first of all congratulations.
PAUL STAINTON: But hardly a stirring mandate, is it? Fifteen per cent, and what, five per cent of people in Cambridgeshire voted for you?
GRAHAM BRIGHT: Well the thing is we had an election, and everyone had an opportunity to vote. I think there’s a lot of things you can criticise about the way in which this election was put together. Having it in November wasn’t a good idea. And not having Freepost, so that every single person had information about all the candidates. When I found myself, when I was going round, being asked about the other candidates, it was a very diffcult situation, where people weren’t fully informed.
GRAHAM BRIGHT: The thing is everyone had the opportunity. And I have made the point, immediately after I took the oath, that as far as I was concerned, I was there to represent everyone. Whether they voted or not, they’ve got a representative. And I shall be listening to what people have to say, and dealing with some of their problems.
PAUL STAINTON: It seems nobody wants to hear from you, do they? Nobody wants to speak to you, judging by the turnout.
GRAHAM BRIGHT: Well I wouldn’t have thought that. No. I think once you’re there .. I’ve been a local councillor and a Member of Parliament. You jolly soon find that people want to speak to you when they’ve got a problem. And that’s what I’m there for.
PAUL STAINTON: Where are you going to start? You said you wanted to visit all areas of Cambridgeshire. Where’s the first place? Where’s top of your hit list?
GRAHAM BRIGHT: Well I shall be visiting .. I’ve already visited most parts of Cambridgeshire. What I’m interested in doing is listening to what people have to say. This is what the role is about.
PAUL STAINTON: Where have you been? Where have you been listening already Graham? Tell us where you’ve been.
GRAHAM BRIGHT: Literally all the way round the county, during the campaign itself.
PAUL STAINTON: Well just tell us a few places.
GRAHAM BRIGHT: Every major place. Well starting from near home, Ely, March, Wisbech, Peterborough.
PAUL STAINTON: And what have people been saying to you?
GRAHAM BRIGHT: Well that’s quite interesting, because there’s a pattern that runs right the way through. People’s big concern is anti-social behaviour. And that’s a big big thing to try to deal with. And it’s something we’ve got to get to grips with. But within that anti-social behaviour you’ve got things like speeding as well, parking on pavements. It’s not just hooligans. There’s a lot of issues that people just don’t seem to care about others.
PAUL; STAINTON: Are they going to be the first things you do this week? Are they going to be the first things you look at? Or are you going to look at the budget? Because you’re going to be half a million pounds short, aren’t you?
GRAHAM BRIGHT: I shall be looking at everything.
PAUL STAINTON: You’re going to be half a million pounds short in your budget, aren’t you?
GRAHAM BRIGHT: I think it’s going to be OK.
GRAHAM BRIGHT: We’re not going to have to make any cuts, I’m absolutely certain of that.
PAUL STAINTON: If you accept the Government grant which you say you’re going to do, you’re going to be five hundred thousand pounds short, aren’t you? Where are you going to find that money?
GRAHAM BRIGHT: Well, we don’t know that yet. We’ve got some negotiating to do. I’ve got until the end of January to get the budget sorted out.
PAUL STAINTON: Can you explain how you’re working that out. Because we worked it out you’ve got just a few days really to stick your budget in and find this shortfall of half a million pounds.
GRAHAM BRIGHT: Well we’ve got until the end of January to do that. So we’ve got time to go through it in detail. And I certainly intend to speak to the Government about the deal they’re putting forward. Because what I don’t want to happen is that we take what they’re offering us, and that has a knock-on effect of making us short every year afterwards. So we need to get that right, understand it fully before I commit to it.
PAUL STAINTON: Right. You’ve got to save ten million by 2015. That’s about twenty per cent of the budget. How are you going to do that? Because you’ve come out and said you’re in favour now of using G4S. Is that right?
GRAHAM BRIGHT: When did I say that?
PAUL STAINTON: Are you or aren’t you?
GRAHAM BRIGHT: I’m not in favour of just going headlong into G4S. I want to use as many other organisations as we can, but I’m particularly keen, and I’ve said this all the way through the campaign, on working with other police authorities. We’re already working with Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire.
PAUL STAINTON: So you’re not going to work with G4S.
GRAHAM BRIGHT: I’m not saying we’re not going to. We may. But not in the way in which everyone anticipated. I don’t believe in going headlong. I think they’ve got a lot of credibility to make up, and I wouldn’t be .. I would not be happy with them.
PAUL STAINTON: And how many authorities will you share with, and what will you share with them?
GRAHAM BRIGHT: We share with Bedfordshire, and we share with Hertfordshire at the moment. I want to try and extend that to the other Eastern counties, Suffolk, Norfolk and indeed Essex, so that you’ve got a very large group, so that you’re in a much stronger position to negotiate for services.
PAUL STAINTON: What are you going to share?
GRAHAM BRIGHT: There’s no reason why other authorities shouldn’t provide some of the services to us.
PAUL STAINTON: What services?
GRAHAM BRIGHT: Quite happy to contract out, for instance, to Essex to give us some of our services.
PAUL STAINTON: What services?
PAUL STAINTON: What services Graham?
GRAHAM BRIGHT: Well at the moment we are looking at Scientific Services. We’ve already working together with the Armed Policing Unit, Major Crime Unit. We’ve obviously got to look at Rural Crime, that’s across county borders. But we can go beyond that. There’s no reason why we have to run a payroll, or we have to run human resources. If you share those with the other authorities, you’re immediately taking out the overheads. And I think that’s going to save us , well of course looking at efficiencies within our own operation.
PAUL STAINTON: What salary are you going to take Graham?
GRAHAM BRIGHT: I haven’t been down to look at that yet. It’s the last thing on my mind. I want to just ..
PAUL STAINTON: What, fifty grand, sixty grand, eighty grand, hundred grand?
GRAHAM BRIGHT: (LAUGHS) In actual fact the Government have decreed it seventy. So they’re you are.
PAUL STAINTON: So you’ll take that will you?
GRAHAM BRIGHT: Well I shall need some money to do those things that I want to do. Yes.
PAUL STAINTON: So that’s a yes. Seventy grand is it? Is that a yes?
GRAHAM BRIGHT: Yes it’s a yes.
PAUL STAINTON: OK. Just checking. And we’ve had a call in this morning from Mary as well, who wants to talk to you about something, and we’ll get to her in just a second. But first, let’s just hear these children, what they have to say this morning. (TAPE)
CHILD ONE: Once before, there was this person who was speeding I think, and my friend who was walking, he was going to walk across the road, and then the car didn’t stop when he was going to walk across the road.
CHILD TWO: If you get your driving licence, you go all crazy, and you can just get hurt.
CHILD THREE: On the way to school there are cars that are speeding. So when you are trying to walk across the road you have to suddenly step back, because they are coming in too fast. (LIVE)
PAUL STAINTON: Some of the children of Cambridgeshire want people to slow down outside their schools. Mary in Chattris. Morning Mary.
MARY IN CHATTERIS: Oh good morning to you.
PAUL STAINTON: You’d like to talk to Sir Graham, wouldn’t you? What would you like to say?
MARY IN CHATTERIS: I’ve got a lot to say actually. I listened very attentively just now, and I don’t know what it’s all about. Now we’ve got a huge problem here in Chatteris. Every weekend on my road, which is thirty miles an hour, we have the Chatteris Grand Prix. People come from all directions, speeding. Speeding, speeding, speeding. And I am well aware that six young men last year from this area got killed. And this year, thank God, only two. Now I am very bothered about the situation with the police. I haven’t seen a police person for about two months. Our police station is just part-time. And lots of people tell me that the March police station is closed down. Now this whole situation is due to the way our police are restrained on their duties. What the hell goes on?
PAUL STAINTON: Let’s put that to Sir Graham Mary. Thank you for your call this morning. It’s the Chatteris Grand Prix Graham. And not a policeman to be seen. Is that going to change on your watch?
GRAHAM BRIGHT: Speeding is an issue that a lot of people have talked to me about. And one of the things I did during the campaign was to go out and meet the Speedwatch organisation. Now that’s a voluntary group of people that use police equipment to monitor the speed of traffic, and to report people to the police, and it’s then followed up, where people are given a warning. I was more than impressed. And where they’ve been operating, and it’s mainly in villages, but where they’ve been operating, it really has slowed traffic down.
PAUL STAINTON: So more of that? Not more police?
GRAHAM BRIGHT: Well, that is one way of trying to control the traffic. You can’t have a policeman on every street, but if we’ve got willing people, willing volunteers, they’re very keen to do this, and it slows traffic down, it makes the roads safer. And I’m particularly concerned about what the youngsters were saying.
PAUL STAINTON: Graham we’ve got to leave it there. But let me just ask you one final thing before you go. Let’s look into the future crystal ball. It’s six months on from now. What’s the one thing you hope to achieve in the next six months?
GRAHAM BRIGHT: Well first of all to make people recognise what we’re doing and how we’re doing it. I’m moving the office out of Police Headquarters, because I represent the public. We’re going to be operating out of Cambourne. That’s going to happen pretty instantly. But I want to sit and talk to the Chief Constable on Wednesday, to see what is possible. Now he’s going to be ..
PAUL STAINTON: What was the one thing you hope to achieve, sorry?
PAUL STAINTON: What was the one thing you hope to achieve in six months?
GRAHAM BRIGHT: Well I’m going to get outreach people in position in Peterborough and in Cambridge, so that the public have got someone there to talk to them, to listen to them, to monitor it back into us.
PAUL STAINTON: You hope to get outreach people out and about in Cambridgeshire in six months time. Graham, thank you for coming on this morning. Appreciate that.
GRAHAM BRIGHT: My pleasure. My voice is a bit husky because I’ve been talking too much.
PAUL STAINTON: (LAUGHS) You’re fine. Don’t worry. Sir Graham Bright, the new Police and Crime Commissioner for Cambridgeshire.