Cambridgeshire Police and Crime Commissioner Bright – First Speech

Following the announcement of the result of the election, Cambridgeshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner elect, Graham Bright, gave a short speech. I filmed it and have produced a transcript:

Thank you Mr Returning Officer.

And can I thank everyone?

This has been an unusual election.

Having an election in November is not the very best of ideas. I’ve spent some long cold nights.

But thank you obviously to all my supporters. I think I should say thank you to all the other candidates’ supporters as well because without them there wouldn’t have been an election.

And thank you to the staff. The counting. What a counter! Thank you for the time you have spent on that.

This is the first time we have had a Police Commissioner elected.

And it brings us back to the police actually operating by consent and one of the roles that I will have as the commissioner is to be the face of the public and to represent all the public.

Can I say to all those people who didn’t vote, or ruined their votes, I don’t hold it against you because my job is to represent all of the public so I will still be listening to what they have to say and will be working on their behalf.

I’m looking forward very much to working with the police and to pass [sic].

It’s a big job I’m terribly aware of that and as the campaign has gone on I’ve got more and more aware of the task in front of me.

I am determined that with the experience I have got, in the past, to really get to grips with this, and make sure that do what I was requested to do, representing the public, holding the police to account.

And can I say thank you to the candidates. Some of them have escaped haven’t they? Thank you. It’s always a little bit upsetting when you lose, and I’ve lost elections before, so I know but I’m obviously delighted that I’ve won. And can I say to them that they are part of the people I represent and I look forward to talking to them in the future.

Thank you all very much.

I’m going to start work tomorrow.

This raises many questions; such including:

  • Do the other candidates really need supporters for there to be an election???
  • What did he mean when he said: “looking forward very much to working with the police and [to pass]” ?

It was excellent to hear policing by consent be mentioned; but this wasn’t expanded upon and didn’t give me confidence that he understands the concept. It was also good to hear that he intends to represent everyone, not just his supporters, however this commitment didn’t extend to answering questions from me after the announcement of the result I asked about:

  • His plans to appoint staff and deputies
  • Councillors setting local police priorities in Cambridge
  • Mr Bright just completely ignored my questions.

I think it is notable that Bright talks of the “Police Commissioner”, this is something he did in subsequent interviews too. I think this shows he is not considering, or giving enough weight to the “and crime” part of the job and is focusing too much on the police and not the wider opportunities for influence the role gives. I’ve written more on this where I outlined my views on what Cambridgeshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner should do.

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6 responses to “Cambridgeshire Police and Crime Commissioner Bright – First Speech”

  1. In reference to the last line of the speech I tweeted:

    Bright’s only tweet of the day was:

  2. Richard

    There are a lot of people who don’t share your love of twitter and I certainly wouldn’y judge a person by their lack of twitter output. However, I will judge them by the way they engage with the public, the way they spend their budget, the way in which they set priorities and the way in which they allow their performance to be managed.

    There are thousands of public officials not using twitter and it does not effect their performance.

    • Bob,
      I too don’t mind if, or how, an elected representative uses Twitter. I do though think they need to be accessible, to proactively publish information on what they’re doing and to enable people to lobby and engage with them in public.

      If an elected representative makes a promise, even one as basic as “I’m going to start work tomorrow”, there needs to be a way to check that promise has been kept and to assess performance against it. This is a rather trivial and silly example, but it illustrates the point.

      There are a huge number of elected representatives who do very little; it is the ones who communicate who we notice, there are many more.

      I would draw a distinction between elected representatives and public officials; I think it is the former who have a duty to hold a continuous public conversation.

  3. Following the speeches Graham Bright took the oath / declaration of acceptance office:

    Mr Bright appeared to start by reading out the title of the piece of paper he’d been given! He said:

    Sign the Declaration of Acceptance of Office – Cambridgeshire Police and Crime Commissioner.

    I Graham Bright of Cambridgeshire do hereby declare that I accept the office of Police and Crime Commissioner for Cambridgeshire.

    In making this declaration, I solemnly and sincerely promise that during my term of office:

    I will serve all the people of Cambridgeshire in the office of Police and Crime Commissioner.

    I will act with integrity and diligence in my role and, to the best of my ability, will execute the duties of my office to ensure that the police are able to cut crime and protect the public.

    I will give a voice to the public, especially victims of crime, and work with other services to ensure the safety of the community and effective criminal justice.

    I will take all steps within my power to ensure transparency of my decisions, so that I may be properly held to account by the public.

    I will not interfere with the operational independence of police officers.

  4. Bright is meeting in private with the police panel today, I woul have refused to meet at PCC in private with the police panel – they are supposed to provide some checks and balances. I expect that today the private meeting will look at who to co opt into membership so far all male except for one woman and most Tory party members.

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