“I want to reassure everybody that the Isle of Wight is a safe place to live” – that’s what the Police And Crime Commissioner for Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, Portsmouth and Southampton had to say following his visit to the Isle of Wight today (Wednesday).
Since being elected in May 2016, Mr Lane said he has invested more time into the Isle of Wight than any other county he oversees.
Taking over from Simon Hayes, he admits that he’s faced challenges since being appointed PCC:
“Money is always difficult. In an ideal world we would have more, so we have to be very operationally effective about what the money does for us and that it keeps us safer.
“The world is modernising and changing and criminals amongst that and people that wish us harm are also changing what they do, so we have a big change programme.
“The challenge is to make sure that the straight forward hallmark of keeping us safer is never forgotten, that championing the communities voices are never forgotten but dealing with the complexity of managing within a taut budget…is something that I apply my mind to and I seek to encourage working with partners to deliver the most out of the tax money that supports the organisation.”
With the local tax raising precept being reviewed next month, Michael Lane has this message for us:
“With local tax, I want to keep it under constrained, to not raise it unless it’s needed but there is a value in having some small increase and we’re consulting about that with a focus group on Saturday and there’s an online survey that anyone can fill in so… please go ahead and answer the questions and tell me your voice before I make a decision.”
Speaking about criminal activity on the Isle of Wight, PCC Michael Lane said:
“I want to reassure everybody that the Isle of Wight is a safe place to live. It’s also an excellent place to live…but the process is about knowing that we’re broadly safe but we need the right operationally effective policing for those occasions when that doesn’t happen.
“There are always things that need intervention…I’m sure everyone on the Island knows that there’s been one or two very serious offences recently and sadly on Christmas morning there was a murder [sic]*. Those are horrors that happen occasionally. They don’t change but the Island is broadly a safe place to live, but we need the skills to intervene when tragedy happens and that’s what I’m about protecting.”
Mr Lane said he was fully focused on the present and the future of policing on the Isle of Wight:
“I hope that we can pursue a Community Services Hub here. That we can find the resources to create new buildings that are fit for purpose, that serve the community in a modern way and create a one-stop service, but actually where the community feel the maximum support from all the agencies involved.”
* 32-year-old Michael John Hudson, of no fixed address, will appear before Winchester Crown Court later this month, charged with manslaughter. Two men, arrested on suspicion of murder, are on bail until April.