In profile: Labour’s police and crime commissioner candidate for Norfolk - Steve Morphew
19:10 15 November 2012
With the elections for Norfolk’s first police and crime commissioner less than two weeks away crime correspondent PETER WALSH looks at the candidates looking for your votes, starting with Steve Morphew.
The former leader of Norwich City Council was selected as Labour’s police and crime commissioner candidate for Norfolk in June.
Steve Morphew stepped down at the local elections in May last year having completed five years as city council leader and 15 years as a city councillor.
In his time on the council Mr Morphew had spent nine years as leader of the Labour group, 11 as councillor for Mile Cross and before that, four years for Nelson ward.
Mr Morphew became president of the Norwich Labour Party after quitting the council to help try and pave path for the Norwich North and Norwich South constituencies to again be represented by Labour MPs in the future.
Tottenham-born Mr Morphew is a familiar figure to people in Norwich where he was joined on the campaign trail last month by Labour’s Shadow Home Office Minister Chris Bryant.
The Labour candidates proposals, unveiled as part of a 10-point manifesto, include raising the police’s share of the council tax by no more than 10p a week each year (approximately a 3pc increase for band D taxpayers), no privatisation of policing services and fighting against further government cuts.
In his election statement Mr Morphew said “peace of mind” is one of the most important things for the people of Norfolk and something he, if elected, will try and achieve.
He said: “Peace of mind means feeling safe in your home and on your street. It is about policing, but also knowing how you can pay your bills, what happens when you hit hard times or fall ill. Norfolk is a relatively safe place – though that’s no consolation if you are a victim of crime. Keeping crime levels low, reducing fear of crime and creating communities where we can all live with peace of mind is my priority.
“Whether you’re rich or poor, live in rural, urban or coastal areas, we’re all entitled to peace of mind. Different communities need tailored responses to their needs but the results should be the same. As Police Commissioner I would be as visible as we want our police to be – I’ll come to you to find out your views.
“Since 2010 Norfolk has lost 115 police officers and 21 PCSO’s – in the future even more are planned. The financial position is tough and efficiencies must be found – but we must fight to protect policing. Council tax may have to rise. I promise to cap it at no more than 10p per week annual increase (Band C). I will fight government cuts that affect police effectiveness. I will not countenance police services being provided by people whose first duty is to private shareholders rather than the public they serve.
“I am experienced in leading large public sector organisations, respecting the independence of professionals and holding senior officials to account. I have worked successfully in partnership with many organisations of differing political opinions and none. My overriding priority is, and must always be, your peace of mind.”
Tomorrow: Norfolk’s Conservative police and crime commissioner candidate Jamie Athill.
If elected as police and crime commissioner for Norfolk on November 15 what will be your number one priority for the people of the county?
My priority is peace of mind for the people of Norfolk. Feeling safe on your street and in your home needs visible policing, real accountability and crime prevention through tackling the things that bring people into contact with criminal justice. As Commissioner everything I do will be judged by whether people feel safer as they go about our county.
Peace of mind won’t come from unsustainable cuts in police funding. Already we have 115 fewer police and 21 fewer PCSO’s since 2010. Neither will it come from contracting out police services to companies like G4S that failed us during the Olympics. Respect and equality before the law means fairly funded policing, accountable to the public they serve, not shareholders. The finances are challenging - but efficiencies must come with championing extra resources as everybody has the right to peace of mind whether they live in a rural or urban area.
Unlike all the other candidates, I won’t appoint an expensive political deputy. Political affiliation stays at the door of the Commissioners office. I don’t agree with the commissioner role but I am passionate about policing, crime reduction, peace of mind and the people of Norfolk. My manifesto is at www.stevemorphew.co.uk.
About Steve Morphew
Steve was born in London and moved to live in Norwich in 1987.
He had visited Norfolk since childhood initially to see family friends and then regularly as an adult for professional reasons before moving here permanently.
Steve, who is married to Maggie Wheeler and has two children from a previous relationship, has also sat on and chaired a number of boards of organisations from local charities to large strategic planning partnerships.
He has spent:
• Twenty years as full time officer for NALGO/UNISON in East Anglia.
• Seventeen years as consultant in human resources and people management to charities and not for profit organisations.
• Eight years as non Executive Director Norfolk and Norwich University NHS Trust (including six as chair of the Audit Committee).