We were pleased to be able to host a virtual hustings event for the Devon and Cornwall police and crime commissioner elections.
The event, hosted via Zoom webinar, was held last week and saw candidates Alison Hernandez, Brian Blake, Gareth Derrick and Stuart Jackson each promote their vision for policing in the South West.
The police and crime commissioner is responsible for setting priorities for policing in the area and being the voice of the people, appointing and holding to account the chief constable.
The candidates answered questions from residents and staff of Harbour Housing who joined the event from different locations across Cornwall, as well as external audience members.
People in attendance had a huge range of experience covering homelessness as well as additional complexities including addiction, domestic abuse, learning disabilities and the criminal justice system.
The candidates answered questions focused around these issues, discussing their plans for reducing drug harm and sensitively capturing lived experience as well as tackling the stigma and discrimination often faced by those marginalised by society.
This was the only hustings event held for the police and crime commissioner elections that was not organised by the media and it gave the candidates the opportunity to address a different demographic and to ensure that they were hearing from parts of the electorate that may sometimes be forgotten.
It’s so important to us that our residents are getting their voices heard by people with the power to set policy and enact real change in the region.
We’ve been providing a lot of support to those in our service around registering to vote and this event has really demonstrated that the candidates are committed to listening to what our residents have to say, which was really positive.
We hope that this event has shown our beneficiaries that they’ve got the power to influence those in office, and that it’s also shown the candidates that we have a really important part of the electorate here who want to be heard and share their experiences.”
Jude Cross, our trustee and portfolio holder for the homeless sector, diversity and business development said: “It’s important that all voices are heard and listened to in the political process.
“Those experiencing homelessness can be some of the most socially excluded people in society. Their experiences, good and bad, can help shape a more fair, just system that meets the needs of those requiring support and breaks down barriers enabling access to the right service at the right time.
“We must remember that our beneficiaries are people first and foremost and that they are members of our community too”
The event was moderated by Harbour Housing trustee Mark Steer, who also sits as chair for police charity Kreslu.
In his closing remarks he said to the candidates, “Your perspectives have been rich and varied but your passion and commitment to this process tonight has been well received and well respected.”
The live webinar was recorded and can be viewed on our YouTube channel here: recording.
The police and crime commissioner elections will be held on 6 May 2021.