Home   Bury St Edmunds   News   Article

Subscribe Now

Green candidate for police leader role, Rachel Smith-Lyte, speaks on priorities as force faces ‘serious pressure’





The Green candidate for the police leader role has laid out policing priorities as the force faces ‘serious pressure’.

Rachel Smith-Lyte, who currently serves as a councillor in East Suffolk’s cabinet, will be taking on the mantle as the Green Party’s candidate at the upcoming Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) elections on May 2.

She said a group effort was needed to tackle the problems facing Suffolk’s police force.

Rachel Smith-Lyte, who currently serves as a councillor in East Suffolk’s cabinet, will be taking on the mantle as the Green Party’s candidate at the upcoming Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) elections. Picture: Green Party
Rachel Smith-Lyte, who currently serves as a councillor in East Suffolk’s cabinet, will be taking on the mantle as the Green Party’s candidate at the upcoming Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) elections. Picture: Green Party

She added: “I recognise the force is under serious pressure and I also sadly recognise it’s going to get worse.

“It’s important to just take a pause, take a breath, have a look at everything and then go from there — I’m not arrogant, I will be taking advice and I will be listening carefully.”

The Green candidate also argued that being arrested while protesting in London, would give her a different and unique perspective from other candidates on how to deal with policing.

She said the police force faces 'serious pressure'. Picture: submitted
She said the police force faces 'serious pressure'. Picture: submitted

She promised to tackle the gap in mental health provision caused by struggling courts and and lacking services, as a result of funding cuts, which is causing the police to pick up the mantle.

Part of addressing the issue, she said, was making sure staff was properly trained to deal with mental health issues.

Ms Smith-Lyte added, however, that she would be taking advice on what the extra training would mean for the force’s Right Care, Right Person initiative.

The scheme was launched in October as a way of allowing operators to signpost people to other agencies where safety concerns were raised but there wasn’t an immediate threat to life, serious harm, or a crime being committed.

She has also committed to continuing the constabulary’s work on tackling domestic violence against women and girls which, police data revealed last month, has decreased by 16.3 per cent last year.

Other commitments include tackling disproportionate stops and searches of people of colour, currently 2.2 times more likely to happen, as well as rural crime, which has seen victim satisfaction drop by 8.1 per cent in the 12 months leading to October 2023.

Ms Smith-Lyte added: “This is going to be a really critical time, lots of people are really struggling and the police is not exempt from that — there are huge challenges but I’ve got pretty broad shoulders.”

Each district council will be responsible for counting the ballot papers for its area, with the results being announced at West Suffolk House in Bury St Edmunds on Friday, May 3.

The other candidates are Sir Robin Wales (Labour and Co-operative Party), Tim Passmore (Conservative Party), and James Sandbach (Liberal Democrats).