Grantham Journal Big Interview: Making a stand against crime while balancing family life
Police and crime commissioner (PCC) Marc Jones is not someone who likes to sit behind a desk.
When he’s not busy out meeting the public or organisations, he’s busy interacting with his followers and sharing his news on Twitter.
He says he attended 270 meetings across the county with community representatives over 12 months.
“It is fascinating getting out and meeting people and seeing the things they do and achieve in the community,” he told us.
But he’s keen to get across that he’s “not a cop”.
“I know some PCCs wear police style jackets with PCC written on them but I am very clear that I’m not a cop.”
The role of the PCC is an elected one by the people. The description of the role is that the PCC is to be the voice of the people and hold the police to account. They are responsible for the “totality of policing”.
Mr Jones, 45, was elected into the role for Lincolnshire in May last year and has hit the ground running from day one.
He is a big fan of Twitter and regularly tweets out what he’s been up to.
He said: “I have tried to be as public as possible. I try to give an honest answer to questions.
“Twitter is brilliant for that and also in making contacts, whether that is on a national or international basis, to help deliver better services.”
Among campaigns that Mr Jones has been heavily involved in has been the pioneering rural crime strategy. This has seen Lincolnshire Police receive its first drone which will not only be used in tackling crimes such as hare-coursing but also in missing person searches and assisting with fire and rescue – for instance if someone is trapped in a building.
The drone was used during an industrial accident involving a HGV at Stainby Quarry, Buckminster, last week, in which a man died.
It is also equipped with thermal imagery which could help identify someone who is stranded.
Mr Jones said: “It was clear in the months before the election that people felt their safety was paramount.
“It wasn’t just about rural crime, it was about rural safety. It is about protecting the vulnerable in their homes. It is much wider than just rural crime.”
The introduction of sobriety tags is another successful initiative. Funded by his office, the aim is to tackle alcohol related crime.
Sobriety tags are an ankle bracelet which detect alcohol levels in the wearer’s sweat and alert the authorities when someone has breached an abstinence order.
His first year has also seen the appointment of a new Chief Constable for Lincolnshire Police, Bill Skelly.
“We found the right man for the job,” Mr Jones said.
Mr Jones is deputy of the Victims Standing Group, a group run by PCCs to support victims of crime. That includes people targeted by cyber criminals.
And he has been very vocal in his campaign for a fairer financial deal for police in Lincolnshire.
“The Government agrees that the public funding does not work out but then a general election was called,” he said.
“The world has changed after the terrorist attacks.
“The Met (Metropolitan Police) gets £300 per head of the population and Lincolnshire gets £88.
“Nottingham gets £119 per head and Humberside gets £132 per head.
“The chances, and morally, of money being taken from the Met at the moment are questionable.
“I will continue to speak to our MPs and Government but it is about whether we get more money or have less services.
“The conversation with Government is not over.
“I was very disappointed recently when we put in for funding for projects for violence against women and girls. There was £17 million available and we asked for £900,000 for the projects. We didn’t get any. I will be writing to Government to make clear my disappointment.”
We asked Mr Jones how he balances his work life with his social life.
He joked: “My wife (Rachel) might say I balance it badly but I try to keep the balance to two-three engagements a week.
“But an example is when I was down in London with the National Association of Police and Crime Commissioners. I rushed across London by tube then on to the 6.06pm train home to sit down just as the curtains opened on my daughter’s play.
“She is about to turn nine and I will not have her penalised because of my job. I do make sure I have a family life.
“Most of what the police do the public never see, which I am really pleased about, but understand the complexity of what goes on.
“The police have a massive rural challenge every day.”