Staffordshire’s new police and crime commissioner officially began his new role today by vowing to make officers more visible on the streets – by painting unmarked police cars that are used for patrols.
Matthew Ellis has revealed one of the “simple” ways he plans to raise the visibility of police is by transforming vehicles, although it is understood that those involved in undercover and surveillance operations will not be altered.
Mr Ellis, a Conservative, won the role to become commissioner last week, beating Labour’s Joy Garner by 51,237 votes to 47,589. But there was a poor turnout at the polls, with just 11.97 per cent voting.
A key aspect of his election campaign was the visibility of police.
He said: “There are simple solutions to some of the problems we have. Why are such a large proportion of vehicles unmarked? If we mark them up you could instantly double the visibility of police on the streets.
“I haven’t been able to find an answer as to why so many are unmarked, but we will do so.”
Other priorities during his three-and-a-half year term will include equipping officers with more modern technology like iPad-style tablets and generating money from the force’s old headquarters in Stafford.
“I can guarantee it’s one of the things I’ll be looking at. The top priority is getting the money out of the old police HQ,” Mr Ellis added.
“I’ve already identified money within the current budget that I believe could be used to invest to save.
“We also need to utilise technology and that will be a big driver to get them out there to do more policing.
“Technology isn’t the answer – technology facilitates the answer. Why do police officers have to come back into police stations to find information?”