The best model I’ve found elsewhere in the country is that of a Commissioner’s Fund.
I am expanding the project in a much larger police force.
I’m calling it the Commissioners Cross-Cultural fund because it describes a concept with stickability.
Used to its full advantage the budget is likely to be £2.7 million, the biggest of its kind in the country.
In fact there are already a lot of random donations to a lot of charities by the PCC that I thinks tots up to roughly 0.5%. You can read about them on their website.
They don’t tell you if it was an effective way to spend the money. There’s no feedback. There’s no legacy. There is no continuity.
So it just looks like cheque writing. Which is easy and carries a lot of favour.
I have already approached groups who represent vulnerable people to find out what they need and some won’t talk to me because I am independent in c.ase it upsets the political party that they see as their sponsor.
But it isn’t the political parties money.
It is yours.
I’d really like to firm up a legacy from the work.
And expand it.
Because this is a police budget, we must spend 100% of the money on things that will benefit policing and reduce crime.
Either by making things easier on our police.
Better equipment to the police.
Better equipment to the police.
Better morale for the police
More trust from the public
And any number of other things including …… neighbourhood and community projects.
That’s going to involve imagination and creativity. That’s what gives hope and energy, care and, I know this will get people angry but, love.
The arts can listen to you.
I’m calling this a Cross-Cultural fund
Think about it.
What is culture?
The people who want to be negative about it will say – ballet dancing and Susan Boyle. Fine .
But it’s more than that.
We have cultures of violence
We have cultures of domestic abuse
We have cultures of knife crime
We have cultures of antisocial behaviour
But how will combat these things without being the opposite?
What is the opposite of antisocial?
And which other candidate is presenting you with any idea at all on this?
This is a strong idea but largely because it has the capacity to encapsulate all your strong ideas.
IF…. they have a cross-cultural benefit in any way that you can describe, defend or propose.
So put your thinking cap on and get back to me
We have cultures of social activity and community support.
We have cultures of religious belief.
We have cultures of violence and hate
Feel free to interpret this how you want. Bring me your antidotes.
This is a call to action and a broad device backed with real money .
We do have cohesive cultures here in the north-east .
But left alone, things disperse.
You can leave a jelly in the sun.
You can tighten those cultures up in handcuffs. You can put them in armlocks. You can bar them and put bars around them.
And you have to sometimes.
You can do that with 99% of your money even.
With 1% though, you can bring them together, you can pull them together. You can create activity that crosses cultures.
I can’t think of any better way of spending money than that at the moment.
The north-east leading the way.
So do I think that you can make me some pottery and that will prevent a crime wave?
I don’t know.
Let’s find out.
What would that pot look like?
Do I think that you could write a poem that could reverse a dark deed before it happens?
Of course I damn well do.
Why would anyone think otherwise?. It is blindingly obvious.
You can save a life by extending a hand.
This fund will do that.
I bet there are better ways and I will be all ears.
But the privilege of the PCC is the influence and responsibility to have your back and back you up
I intend to use it for South Shields and Gateshead, for Sunderland and Newcastle, for North Shields and for Northumberland.
Like it’s never been used before.