21/10/2012 Sunday Politics North East and Cumbria


Andrew Neil and Richard Moss with the latest political news, interviews and debate including Home Secretary Theresa May on the plans for new Police and Crime Commissioners.

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In the north-east: Tributes to Middlesbrough MP it's a Stewart.


And we get face-to-face with the candidates who want to be the new


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They have been fewer robberies in most of the region. In Durham, the


figures dropped by 19% and went up by 2% in Northumbria. There is a


mixed picture on car crime. Overall, crime figures are improving. There


is a continual demand for more on the streets. It is an issue


everywhere the police crime commission has have to work very


closely with police. There is a massive challenge for all five


people to become police crime commission has in our region. They


will have to cut crime would less money and few offices. Office


numbers are expected to fall by 7% in Cumbria. One other major issue,


because all our police forces budgets are being squeezed. Cleadon


needs to save �14.2 million by 2015. Yorkshire needs a �28 million


saving. It is a real challenge they are facing. Each police and crime


commission will have their own approach. The row -- the worry for


as is that a lot of money may be put into preventative measures, but


we have to make sure victims of crime and not forgotten. We want to


make sure that it is still important to provide those police


services. The sheer size of the areas they have to cut but is a


problem. Durham police have don't find crime in cities and rural


areas. Police crime commission has have to know the levels of problems


they are dealing with, so to ensure they have the accurate figures. Yes,


there are more people living in towns, but guess what? They like


going to the countryside. Unless we tackle crime in the countryside


will not be an attractive place. you would like to find out more


about the police and crime commission her collections in the


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Hello, and a very warm welcome to your local part of the show just


for the North East and Cumbria. Coming up: Victims of crime on


Teesside put their views to the politicians who want to be be


Cleveland's new police commissioner. And we talk to Middlesbrough mayor


Ray Mallon about his intentions following the death of Sir Stuart


Bell. My guests this week: Sunderland Labour MP Julie Elliott


and Conservative Lord, Michael Bates. And the papers have been


full of the chancellor mistakenly perhaps travelling first class on a


second class ticket. But there also seems to be a loophole allowing


some of our MPs to travel first class frequently. Julie Elliott, is


it justifiable for MPs to travel first class on expenses? I think if


you get a ticket less than the cost of standard class, yes, it is. That


is within the transparent, open rules. I suppose less than standard


class, we are talking about the top standard class fare? Which is what


we have to pay if the changes are made and we have to buy a ticket on


the day of travel. Often, if you book a day in advance, you can get


a first-class ticket cheaper than a standard class, because they are


less popular. So it is swings and roundabouts. I do think the


Telegraph is trying to make a story out of something that isn't there.


Michael Bates, the problem it is related to what has happened in the


past. Do you think it is justifiable? Well, the rules were


changed in 2009. For parliamentarians, sometimes you get


a clamour, a change in the rules, people abide by the rules and then


there is an instant like a George Osborne and people want to change


the rules again. If people want to say no first class under any


circumstances, most MPs would say, fine. The roles are there at the


moment. It is strange at this time that the Chancellor of the


Exchequer is berated for travelling first class when his civil servants


would trouble in first class. Let's be sensible. -- would travel.


Now - have you been unfortunate enough to have your house burgled


or your car stolen? Well, when the new police and crime commissioners


start work in 2014, they will be responsible not just for setting


priorities for policing - but also for looking after victims of crime.


So how will those standing for election next month put that into


practice? To find out, we invited three of the candidates standing in


Cleveland to meet some of those whose lives have been affected by


crime. How will they faced a grilling by those they will be


charged with protecting? Ron has had two petrol-bomb attacks on his


home. To date, nobody has been prosecuted. My family have been


tortured but 10 years with very little help from the agencies. I


want to know what you would do for victims, because victims get a very


broad deal. As a commissioner, I would not accept that continuing.


OK, it is the chief constable's responsibility to prevent it


happening, but we have to take action to stop that. We need to


stop looking at crime figures as figures and look at victim figures.


If you change, for example, 41,000 times for -- crimes into victims,


that changes your focal point. will be up there with the police on


the streets, I will make sure we will work together to tackle the


problems. We will make the criminals not vulnerable minority.


Next, Wendy. She suffered years of domestic violence and now runs a


charity, but is struggling. funding is gone. Where do we get


the money to keep these services going? Domestic violence is not


going anywhere. We've made progress recently and it would be wrong if


that progress was eroded because of lack of funds. The commission a's


role is primarily about listening to the community and providing what


the community needs. You mentioned earlier at the back to you that a


lot of enthusiastic volunteers. I think we need to capitalise on that.


She is from a community group in South Bank. Its offices were burnt


down by vandals. They have new offices now that crime is still a


problem. One of the big issues is the apathy in our community. There


is a serious under-reporting of crime. It takes far too long to


ring up and make that call. As far as I'm concerned, any victim of


crime it must get a police officer visit, and I would make sure that


happens. If presence is required by a police officer, it should be done,


within a day or the hour. I think we should make it easier for


victims to report incidents. candidates also faced problems on


drugs and help the young people. But in the end, were their


inquisitors convinced they could make a difference? If the police


couldn't do it, I cannot see one person making a difference. It is


more American-style. I wish we had the sentences that America does.


just wonder whether they realise how bad the communities are. Often,


people standing for these jobs do not live in what I call the inner-


city areas where all the deprivation is. I think as long as


the people and the voices of the people get bored into the role


itself, then that person will be successful. -- brought into the


role. The election is on November 15th. Michael Bates, you read some


scepticism there. Why should we believe that one individual over a


big area can make a difference to victims of crime? At the moment,


there are 17 people on the police authority. People will struggle to


remember the names of any of them. People don't know where to go to


contact somebody with their real concerns. The very fact we are


having a debate here with people who are supposed to be protected by


the police talking about policing in their area would people who will


now have the power to hire and fire the chief constable and set the


level of spending in their area is surely an advance. Those people


will be held to account for what they do or don't do by the people


that they serve. That has to be a step forward. But they're not going


to be able to secure a stiffer sentences, for instance. Is this


raising expectations they cannot meet? There are two points to it.


The Prime Minister has made an announcement on the sentencing side.


Victims of crime be a commissioner can do something to make things


tough that the criminals. Can they? It is about making somebody visibly


accountable for policing in a given area, so there is it a go to person


who is accountable through the ballot box. I think that chimes


with what a lot of people want, and as time goes on, we will see those


roles will be taken more and more seriously. Julie Elliott, Labour


did not support the idea of police commissioners but they are saying


they can make a difference to the role now. I think it very -- I


think it is a hugely costly exercise. But seeing as we're here


now, I think there is an opportunity, because, as Michael


said, they are a focal point. They will engage with communities to try


and probably enhance what we have already. Northumbria, I do think we


have a good liaison between the Community and the police. Crime


figures are falling, so how can they do better? The figures out to


the minute of falling as a result of Labour policies. It will be


interesting to see what happens in a few years. The problem is,


candidates will be tempted to talks tough about getting people off the


street, when the reality is that people are safer. I think crime


novels are falling. But -- levels are falling. I think people need to


address the fact that people are not so afraid anymore. There are


people who are not from traditional party political backgrounds


standing as candidates, that has to be welcomed. The fact they will be


directly responsible, working with the chief constables, is going to


make a difference on the streets. What is this concern about stoking


beer on crime? All politicians have to take this responsibility. When


you hear candidate saying they will be out on the streets? Really


sticky, you cannot be out with 1.1 million people all the time. But


you can set up structures that engage more with the general


population. But to stoke up via is a dangerous thing and I don't think


anybody should be doing that. -- stoke up fear.


You can find out who is standing in your police force area on the BBC


website. Just go to bbc.co.uk/policeelections. And in


addition to the three Cleveland candidates shown in our film, Joe


Michna from the Green Party is also standing, but was unable to make it


to the recording. Now to Sir Stuart Bell, who died


last weekend at the age of 74. Sir Stuart was the MP for Middlesbrough


for 29 years and often a controversial figure. Fergus


Hewison has been looking back at his long and varied career -


including some lively moments in this very studio.


This week, the House of Commons paid tribute. His depth was


incredibly sudden. The condolences of this side of the House go to his


family. The son of a miner, he became a successful barrister,


working in France before returning to the UK to enter Parliament and a


present Middlesbrough. There, he defended families wrongly accused


of abusing their children. children can now get on with their


lives. They lost their innocence in this crisis and some of their


childhood, they have suffered enormous pressures. They have never


been able to recover. We later, he famously clashed with the man


seeking to be elected mayor, Ray Mallon. He is trying to kill me up.


I have news - I will not be intimidated. If Ray Mallon is


elected mayor, it is you like that. You would have to resign. No, no.


After that, they made up. remember that particular argument


extremely well. But what have to say is, from the day I was elected


from the mayor, our relationship was perfect. There were still


controversy lurking in the shape of MP's expenses. Stuart Bell stuck to


his guns. Do you agree that MPs who claimed more than that amount are


excessive? The this is not a matter of the need. They were entitled to


claim what they claimed. Then there was a revelation last year that he


has not held a surgery in his constituency since 1997. He held


back, saying he had not made one since being attacked at one. But he


was dubbed Britain's laziest MP. is totally untrue. We work seven


days a week and we have done that the 30 years. We've been re-elected


seven times, we have had seven mandates from the people of


Middlesbrough. His funeral will be on October 27th. A by-election will


take place in his seat, usually a safe one for Labour. I want to


protect the interest of Middlesbrough. Therefore, I want to


see an outstanding Member of Parliament bought into place for


this town. I intend to be the candidate list. If I don't believe


that candidate list is high quality, I will intervene. I will stand, it


is as simple as that. Ray Mallon could be a man to watch over the


next few weeks. Michael Bates, what do you remember about Stuart Bell?


He had these two images and lives. One was how he was eat in the


constituency. But in Parliament committee was huge. A very popular


figure. -- in Parliament, he was huge. He was always around with a


smile. And also what I admired about him was, when we talk about


social mobility, he was the son of a minor who went off, trained as a


lawyer, an international barrister, then came back to the House of


Lords and served with distinction. So lots of positives out of the


great live well it. Julie Elliott, he did become a contentious figure.


Did the good out whether that? course it did. He was a very large


beget. -- did a good away the bad? -- did the good outweigh the bad?


He will be missed. He was a very big figure in Parliament. One of


the MPs said that Ray Mallon was a bit disrespectful. What do you


think? A I think people should wait until after the funeral to comment.


Anybody is entitled to stand for Parliament, but they should let the


dust settle before the process takes place.


Now, national politicians are sometimes accused of ignoring the


north. That's not a charge you can level at Nick Clegg. His visits to


the North East are becoming almost routine - and he was back again on


Friday. Here's Mark Denten with that and all the rest of the week's


The Deputy PM had the latest visit. More good economic news -


unemployment in the north-east is down and, below 10% for the first


time since 2010. It is still highest in the UK. Alan Milburn


says universities need to do more to recruit students from poorer


backgrounds. Based should take some of that money and applied to kids


who are studying in disadvantaged schools in hard-pressed areas, to


give them a financial incentive. Plans to abolish the Agricultural


wages Board have been condemned. The board is the most effective way


to insure that regional part-time young and full-time employees in


the farming industry and not exploited. And the see that Tony


Blair represented - said field could disappear off the political


Mark Denten. Well, the North East has one of the worst records in


getting youngsters from poorer backgrounds into university. And


that report by Alan Milburn aims to turn that around. His idea of


universities paying grants to encourage students to stay on at A-


level, could it make a difference? I think you need a combination of


things. I think they are being stopped in education at 16 at the


moment. So years focused on the right issue, but universities don't


have the capacity to fund it. trying to solve the problem your


government has created by getting rid of educational maintenance.


think even Alan Milburn wouldn't say Conservatives created it.


Education grants were claimed for by up to 40% of students. We're


making sure it is focused on those with free school meals. That is the


area we need to focus on. We need to be sure we get advancement for


the poorest in our society. Where we need to start, and where Alan


Milburn the mentioned in his report, we need to raise standards at


school level at A-levels. I think we are seeing now with our new


systems of education. One of the other ideas is to give students


from poorer backgrounds low offers to get into university. Would he be


comfortable with that sort of discrimination? Personally, I


wouldn't. I think we should be raising the standards for students


at the bottom, not lowering the bar at the top. That is where we need


to focus our efforts. So why would not be in favour of that. Many


universities do a fantastic job to reach out to their community and


get people into higher education. Julie Elliott, is that an idea to


help poor students? I don't think we need positive discrimination. I


think we need a broader look at what we need to get to university.


It should not be focused entirely on the grades you get at A-level. I


think a broader into the process and looking at people's ability


looking forward would be much fairer. Alan Milburn did not


mention cutting fees in this. He obviously does not believe it is a


big disincentive for students. is a massive disincentive. This


year, the numbers have fallen this year. People who have gone to


university this year were already in the process, the A-level process,


when that these changed. And that's about all from us. We're


back next Sunday at 11.00am, when my guests will include the MPs for


Andrew Neil and Richard Moss with the latest political news, interviews and debate including Home Secretary Theresa May on the Government's plans for new Police and Crime Commissioners in England and Wales.

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