Lucinda Preston

LucindaPreston

Lucinda Preston is the Labour Party candidate for the 2016 Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner. She has lived in Lincoln all of her life and is the Head of English and Associate Assistant Headteacher at a school in Sleaford.


The recent spate of knife-point robberies in and around Lincoln has shocked everyone in the city, not least me: one of the crimes, at the Sainsbury’s Local on Carholme Road, was just a few minutes’ walk from where I live.

As we know, the police are currently undertaking investigations into the robberies. At the time of writing, they believe that the crimes are not linked and that they could simply be ‘just coincidence’.

But whatever the circumstances or reasons for a crime, it’s always unnerving to know that a crime has taken place just a stone’s throw away from your door. It’s certainly given me pause for thought when I nip to my local shop.

According to 2015 figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), incidents involving knives and other sharp weapons across the whole of the UK have risen by 2%. Some people have put this down to changes in the way that crime is recorded but ONS officials have pointed to the rise being part of a trend.

Lincolnshire is a relatively safe place to live and work. Clearly, one of the reasons for this is the work of our police force in keeping us safe. Whether it’s PCSOs patrolling our streets or their investigations after a crime has taken place, our police work hard to fight crime.

But if nothing else, the recent robberies have shown that we cannot be complacent: it’s important that we have a fully funded, well resourced police force.

There must be no more cuts to police in Lincolnshire. We need a fairer funding formula for our county so that our officers are given the best possible training and resources to fight crime. Everyone deserves to feel safe and secure in the streets around their homes.

Our police can make that happen but they need the financial support to allow them to do their jobs. We need to cut crime, not police.

Lucinda Preston is the Labour Party candidate for the 2016 Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner. She has lived in Lincoln all of her life and is the Head of English and Associate Assistant Headteacher at a school in Sleaford.

This year we’ve seen a rise in road traffic accidents in Lincolnshire with an unusually high number of fatalities since the start of 2016. While there’s no suggestion that mobile phone use is directly responsible, it seems a good moment to consider the ways in which we can make our roads safer.

Driving whilst using a hand-held mobile phone has been banned since 2003 but no such law applies to hands-free kits. This is madness.

There is now a large body of research that shows that using hands-free mobile phones is dangerous. One study found that people’s driving ability is as impaired by using a hands-free mobile as it is by drink driving.

But while most people wouldn’t dream of having five pints and then driving home, they’re happy to use their hands-free phone in the car.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents and the road charity Brake have been urging the government to ban hands-free driving for years, so far to no avail.

But there are signs of change. A growing number of employers are waking up to the dangers of driving whilst using a hands-free phone.

Organisations such as the BBC have banned their employees from using hands-free kits, conscious both of the safety of their staff as well as their own legal liability.

Labour's Police and Crime Commissioner candidate Lucinda Preston is calling for hands-free mobile phones to be banned

Labour’s Police and Crime Commissioner candidate Lucinda Preston is calling for hands-free mobile phones to be banned

I know that those who’ve paid for a hands-free kit might resent giving it up but if you feel like that, ask yourself: are you putting your own selfish convenience ahead of the lives of your passengers or other road users?

If a call is so urgent, then just find a safe place to pull over and make the call.

It’s worth remembering that not many years ago drink driving was also seen as acceptable: thankfully, effective campaigning and legislation means there are now fewer drinking-related accidents and have led to a change in social attitudes.

If banning the use of hands-free mobile phones stopped just one accident then it would be worth doing. It’s time the government took action.

Lucinda Preston is the Labour Party candidate for the 2016 Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner. She has lived in Lincoln all of her life and is the Head of English and Associate Assistant Headteacher at a school in Sleaford.