Illuminating talk for Probus Club

Katy Bourne with Fryern Ladies Probus Club members
Katy Bourne with Fryern Ladies Probus Club members

Katy Bourne was the invited speaker for the day at the Fryern Ladies’ Probus Club lunch and the ladies were interested in meeting her and to hear in detail about her dedicated work as our Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner – they were not disappointed.

In the crowded bar at The Roundabout Hotel in West Chiltington the ladies gathered, socialised, bought winning raffle tickets and met potential new members.

Whilst our membership tops the maximum of 50 we still have an ever increasing double figure waiting list and it is a pleasure to invite some of these ladies to a ‘potential members’ taster lunch’ whenever there is room.

Katy, an attractive and comprehensive speaker, introduced herself and promised that ‘we would not fall asleep’ during her talk and this proved to be eminently true as she recounted shocking episodes of life in Sussex of which most of us were unaware.

Her humorous references to previous introductions ranged from being called ‘Katie Price’ to a ‘commissioner of crime’ and so she was keen to describe her true role as a PCC and her previous background.

This background consisted of the foundation/start-up of successful businesses and Katy told us that she enjoys the challenge of budgets and contracts and this is evident in her work today.

After life in public service, and as a Conservative politician, she won the inaugural election in November 2012 to be our first Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner – her re-election to a second term in this role was earlier this year – an excellent track record.

Katy’s priorities are as follows: cutting crime and catching more criminals; viable and effective neighbourhood policing; putting the victim at the heart of the Justice System; tackling anti-social behaviour and domestic violence plus delivering value for money and a council tax freeze – an impressive list indeed.

Katy outlined many examples from the above and emphasised how crime and how the nature of crime is changing.

How as a PCC she is responsible for The Chief Constable and that her authority straddles two areas these being The Home Office and The Ministry of Justice.

This, plus setting strategies for policies, administering budgets and developing areas of care all add up to an overwhelming work load. It is interesting that we are “a first” worldwide to implement such a structure to our country’s policing.

Areas such as Restorative Justice; where the victim meets the perpetrator, are increasingly more common and Elders Committees are being set up to discuss the needs and fears of the elderly.

This was of particular interest as we heard that one in five, of our senior citizens, are too terrified to answer the phone because of the scams and pressurised selling that could affect them.

They could well end up on ‘A Suckers’ List’ which could then be ‘sold off’ to anyone looking for susceptible, trusting people – all too scary. In fact scams and fraud have escalated rapidly and are the easy ways to part people from their cash.

After an illuminating talk, Jan Davidson thanked Katy warmly on our behalf and said that most of us had been unaware of her role as a PCC and that we appreciated her devotion to her job and the informative talk she had given.

The meeting closed with details of future trips to Buckingham Palace, Coffee Mornings and a proposed visit to Salisbury Christmas Market.

Our next meeting will be on August 4 when we shall look forward to hearing about ‘The History of Sussex Inn Signs’ by Dr Janet Pennington.