The office of Police and Crime Commissioner is not just about crime and policing. With a turnover in excess of £200 million, the position looks after a wide range of personnel, property and equipment. That gives the Police and Crime Commissioner the ability to do a lot of good for the environment.
If I win the election to become Police and Crime Commissioner I pledge to use my position to fight for a better environment in three important ways:
1 – Cut Pollution
Electric and hydrogen cars are generally much more environmentally friendly than petrol vehicles, and certainly than diesel. They produce no pollution in our crowded city and town centres where conventional vehicles pump out noxious fumes that can cause damage to the health of people who live there.
I will undertake an urgent review of the police vehicle buying policy to see if it is possible to purchase replacements that are greener than the current vehicles. Of course, some police vehicles need the performance and range that – for now – only fossil fuels can give, but routine patrol vehicles, known as panda cars, can be more environmentally friendly. I want to see these “Green Pandas” become a routine sight on the roads of Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.
2 – Reduce the Police Carbon Footprint
The Green Pandas will be even greener if they are charged using electricity generated from renewables. I will investigate the police energy procurement policy to see how much can in future be sourced from environmentally friendly sources. That will cut the carbon footprint not just of the Green Pandas but of the heating and lighting of police buildings
3 – Care for our Local Wildlife
The Leicestershire Police own a large number of properties across the county. This does not include just formal police stations, but other buildings and pieces of land. My home garden has a section set aside to help our local wildlife, and I want to do the same for the police land holdings. I want to see planting and land management designed to provide food for our local wildlife. We should also be installing nesting boxes for birds and hibernation homes for hedgehogs, newts, insects and other animals that need to survive through the winter. Remember our snows this winter? Our wildlife needs our help to survive such snaps of bitterly cold weather.
Caring for our environment does not always mean grand gestures or expensive capital projects. It certainly should not mean reducing the capability of our police force to combat crime and maintain the Queen’s Peace. But if I can introduce policies that keep a few more birds alive over winter or reduce the police vehicle fleet’s carbon footprint, that will be a step forward.