A Horncastle business owner and town councillor has revealed why he’s part of UKIP’s fight to take over the hot-seat as Lincolnshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner.
The News revealed last week that Jonathan Ferrari - who owns Jof’s coffee shop in North Street - is standing for the role of deputy commissioner alongside Victoria Ayling who is hoping to replace current incumbent Alan Hardwick.
Mr Ferrari said that running a coffee shop brought him into contact with people from ‘all ages’ and from ‘all walks of life’.
He says that has given him an ‘accurate feedback’ into what is important to local people, including their perception about crime and the role of police officers.
Mr Ferrari also pointed out that he has actively supported an initiative called ‘Spill the Beans’ - a community policing forum that is spearheaded by Horncastle PCSO Nigel Wass.
He added: “The fortnightly sessions, which have been running since May 2015, enable members of the public to visit police and raise any concerns in a much less formal environment than a police station.
“This proved to be a great success and, even when there are no ‘Spill the Beans’ sessions, local residents visit Jof’s to raise their concerns with regard to matters pertaining to safety, security and local policing.”
Mr Ferrari served in both the London Metropolitan Police and the City of London Police and feels he has all the relevant experience and credentials to work alongside Coun Ayling.
He added: “I’m no stranger to tackling policing issues and concerns head on.
“For example, I have been quite vocal at recent town council meeting and other meetings with senior police officials regarding the lack of uniform foot patrols.
“Most recently, I pointed out that the police in Horncastle had secured a police parking bay by St Mary’s Church in a location which had been a free 60 minute public parking slot.
“It is quite unacceptable that this police parking is rarely used by police vehicles.
“I have proposed that response officers assigned to Horncastle police station make use of this space and make short foot patrols in the town.
“They can better utilise their time patrolling and interacting with the local community.
“This not only gives a visible policing presence and assurance but also often leads to obtaining information that might lead to policing intelligence.
“Police officers can, when required, respond to calls for assistance elsewhere from the town rather than from the police station.”
If elected, Mr Ferrari says he and Coun Ayling will work tirelessly to improve policing for both the public and front line police officers.
Ironically, Mr Hardwick visited Jof’s earlier this week to see first hand how the ‘Spill the Beans’ concept worked.
He met several residents who raised concerns with him, including the lack of front-line officers seen patrolling the town’s streets.
Mr Hardwick said he was ‘very impressed’ with the session and said he would love to see similar events rolled out throughout the county.
He said: “I think it is an excellent idea and a wonderful example of how neighbourhood policing can work.
“It is a chance for people to meet police in a less formal atmosphere.
“All the indications are that it is a success in Horncastle and I don’t see why it can’t be a success elsewhere.
“It doesn’t have to be a coffee house or a cafe - any business premises would be ideal.”
Mr Hardwick went on to praise PCSO Wass and Mr Ferrari for playing such active roles in promoting and supporting ‘Spill the Beans.’
PCSO Wass said the sessions had led to valuable information being supplied - along with any concerns which he and other officers followed up.
Mr Hardwick has yet to decide whether to put his name forward to continue in the role of commissioner and stand for re-election in May.
He stressed that whatever happens in the elections, he had put funding formula in place to ensure no frontline officers or PCSOs would be axed.