Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner vows “to be more visible” after tight election victory

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Warwickshire Police & Crime Commissioner (PCC) Philip Seccombe has vowed to be more visible after retaining his post in a tight election victory.

The Conservative candidate saw off Labour’s Sarah Feeney by just 261 votes at the start of May to extend his eight-year stint in the hot seat.He had won by more than 45,000 votes in the post-Covid ballot three years ago but held on this time during a damaging round of elections for the Tories nationally.Mr Seccombe told the Local Democracy Reporting Service it had been a nervy time but that his focus was on being out and about more to serve an electorate that has become politically divided between blue and red.“I always knew it would be close, we ran a pretty busy campaign which we got the funding for and distributed around 130,000 leaflets,” he said.“We knocked on thousands and thousands of doors.

"There weren’t many hustings this time, but with it turning out to be so tight, anyone who did anything for me made the difference.“I wouldn’t necessarily want to go through (a count like) that again, it was pretty stressful.

"We didn’t know the result until the very last one came in.

Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe.Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe.
Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe.

“It was a very clean election which was very good.

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"My opponents were fair, it was not personal, it was about policy which is how it should be.“The result plainly showed that Warwickshire is split politically at the moment.

“We will see what happens with the general election coming later in the year but things seem pretty evenly split between the two major parties.”

On what comes next, he reflected on an ever-changing picture not only in policing but across connected systems.“In any elected role you have your wishes and challenges, and they won’t go away,” he added.“We have achieved some things in my view but there is always more to do.

"Plainly we need to tackle some of the big problems of our society.

"Crime is one of them, drugs is another, cyber misuse, exploitation and fraud.

"There’ll always be another crime type coming forward, organised crime is now getting involved in more and more things – I believe they are getting involved in shoplifting and rural crime, whereas they weren’t in the past.

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“Domestic abuse is a big issue and quite difficult to police with it taking place behind closed doors but I want to give victims a really good service so they have the confidence to report, appear in court and give evidence. People need help to do that.“There is a lot more to be done with the police, crime and the criminal justice system and while I am not an operational cop, I do have the ability to express the views of our residents and I have resolved to get out more and listen.“There are lots of ways to do that now, and I am a great believer in face to face, but I need to listen and understand more about what some of those challenges are, particularly in our more deprived communities."

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Asked whether he felt he had managed to do enough of that in previous years, Mr Seccombe replied: “I try to do two to three nights a week and get out in the days to go where I can.“You can never do too much, though, so I want to do a bit more and to make it more meaningful so there are concrete things that come from it, whether that is holding the police to account, commissioning a new service, whatever it might be.“The residents are my bosses.”