I have extensive relevant experience and expertise, including over 25 years of managing services.
• I qualified as a social worker in 1986. I had previously worked for 8 years in the fields of:- homelessness, substance misuse, mental health, criminal justice, and children and young people.
• I then worked for 8 years with young offenders including managing the Youth Justice Team covering Portsmouth and Havant. We covered all aspects of young offender work, including my chairing of the local young offender gate-keeping panel. This was attended by various professionals, including six police inspectors.
• From 1994 to 2009 I managed various specialist mental health services in Southampton. These included: Mentally disordered offenders workers, drug and alcohol workers, the Approved Mental Health Social Worker rota, forensic social workers, homeless mental health, a community mental health team, a multi-agency integrated adolescent Mental Health service. I setup and running the Assertive Outreach Service. I was also part of a group that looked, under the chair of the local Superintendent, at improving the response to victims of domestic violence as I also managed the woman’s specialist mental health worker.
• I set up and chaired the Southampton Law and Mental Health Group involving all relevant professionals including 2 police inspectors, courts, probation, voluntary sector, lawyers etc.
• I was part of Southampton’s Major Incident Response team and worked as an emergency rest centre manager and took part in regular multi-agency training.
• I worked briefly in adult safeguarding - but took voluntary redundancy in 2011.
• In 2011 my son and I started the events business which in an amended form continues successfully today.
• In 2014, I was appointed by the Care Quality Commission as a 'Specialist Adviser’ (i.e. a part time inspector) covering adult mental health, child and adolescent mental health, substance misuse and forensic work. This involves me in inspecting anything from a small care home over a day to being part of a large team inspecting services within a whole NHS Trust over a week. My most recent job was as part of a multi-agency inspection of Youth Offending Services across Cardiff.
• I am also an 'Associate Hospital Manager' at a local mental health hospital.
I have always been involved in cutting edge, multi-agency services, with successful outcomes. I have constantly sought new challenges. I have worked as a manager within social services, the Probation Service, the voluntary sector, and for 10 years was a NHS manager of an integrated service. I have managed many professional disciplines as a result. I have managed my own business.
I am particularly knowledgeable in many areas relevant to police work and I have extensive experience of managing risk. Committed to a ‘what works’ and collaborative approach to problems, I have shown I can work effectively and collaboratively with all agencies and discipline. Including with the Police at a high level. I know that many of the answers to reducing crime are to intervene in a different way at a much earlier stage, and in partnership with others.
The time is right for a serious rethink on some major criminal justice policy areas. Drugs policy, offences against women, gangs and knife crime would be just three examples. I am well placed to take a very active role in these and other debates. I.e. domestic violence, mentally ill offenders, responses to youth offending, restorative justice etc.
The police are in the midst of a perfect storm at present. Not only have they endured savage cuts in the last 10 years, while the complexity of their work has increased, but at the same time, so much of the public infrastructure that would have supported crime minimisation has been savagely cut. Particularly: Youth services, mental health services, education services, the CPS, heath promotion, and substance misuse services. Our prison and probation services have been cut and disastrously privatised. Some areas of crime are not now responded to, with a significant effect on parts of our community. i.e. a lack of response from the police to shoplifting leaving our shop workers vulnerable. I would be passionate at seeking to secure effective levels of funding for police services and being very active and vocal in seeking to shame any government who would not deliver this.
I passionately believe that public services should be effective for all. I have demonstrated a strong commitment to ensuring the most disadvantaged get at least the same level of service as everybody else. I know that this often means doing extra to engage and deliver for some groups of people and I have taken lead roles on anti-racist practice with-in services. I believe we must have a greener police force, doing what it can to protect our environment and this will be part of my campaign.
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