Happy Hogs Rescue

Sophie Hanks runs the “Happy Hogs Rescue” – A centre for injured and rescued hedgehogs.

 Sophie is at present running the venture from her front room.

She requires both financial help, and donations of food and bedding for her prickly guests.

 T o find out more about Sophie’s Hedgehog Rescue you can visit her Facebook page at:


Honouring our heroes

Posted: Thursday 7th November 2013 Blog: 2013 This Sunday, like many of you, I will be attending a Remembrance Day service, giving thanks for those who gave their lives in the service of their country for our freedom. It takes a special kind of person to put themselves at personal risk to keep others safe. It’s probably something we would all do if we were faced with a threat to our own loved ones or close friends, but those who have chosen to protect our country and our communities every day are worthy of special praise. I believe every one of us has a civic duty to protect our neighbours and communities, and in this past year as your Police and Crime Commissioner, I have had the opportunity to spend a great deal of time with our police officers and PCSO’s, to learn more about their roles, see them in action, hear their experiences, and understand what makes them tick. Policing is one of the last remaining true vocations. It’s not just a job, it’s a desire to serve and protect the public, sometimes at great personal risk. I was recently shown the Humberside Police roll of honour, and discovered that during World War Two, eighteen officers were killed in air raids in Hull, the East Riding and Grimsby, including six officers killed or fatally injured on duty in one devastating 1943 night in Grimsby and Cleethorpes, their sacrifice on behalf of the public will not be forgotten. To view the Humberside Police Roll of Honour CLICK HERE That desire to serve extends right across society, not just in the armed forces and emergency services. I am constantly meeting organisations and individuals who are working to improve people’s lives, to help victims, to make a difference, however small it may be. Why do they do it? It’s because they care, and want to stand up for what’s right. They are part of a big team, and it’s getting bigger. We are living in challenging times, and our history shows us that when we are faced with adversity, we rise to the challenge and work hard to get ourselves back on our feet again. We won’t be beaten by bullies and thugs who seek to intimidate us, steal from us, and make us afraid to walk outside our own front door. This Remembrance Day, let us honour our fallen and injured soldiers from wars both long ago and recent, by ensuring we make this country fit for heroes, where the actions of criminals are confronted and condemned by us all. Let’s all pull together and build that big team to defeat crime in the same way our country defeated our enemies in the past. Matthew

Read More »

Bridging The Generation Gap

Posted: Tuesday 8th October 2013 Blog: 2013 When I was growing up in the 1960s and 1970s, I first heard the phrase ‘The Generation Gap’ referring to the differences between the young and the old. Down the decades there has always been a tension of one kind or another, from the Teddy Boys of the 50s to the Punks of the 70s, and so on, the suspicion and misunderstanding of the younger generation by the old, and the natural desire of the young to rebel and annoy their elders will probably never go away. Today, the rapid advances in technology have made the gap even trickier to bridge, some of our older people feel left behind by social media generation who are wired to the internet 24/7, and consequently feel less able have an influence on their children and grandchildren’s lives. We also have a generation growing up with some significant challenges of their own,many of the young people who come to the attention of the police have troubled and dysfunctional backgrounds. In today’s world, the generation gap has a danger of becoming as wide as the Humber, which is why I am delighted to see so much excellent work going on to connect with our young people. I recently provided funding of over £200,000 to support vulnerable young people through a programme called Positive Lifestyles, which will be the largest youth crime prevention initiative in our area. Regular events will take place in the locations that need it most, youth workers and support staff will provide excellent role models and show our young people a more positive way to spend their time through sport, dance, arts, sexual health education for teenagers and other activities. I hope Positive Lifestyles will be something that will last them a lifetime, and lead to a reduction in youth crime and anti-social behaviour. Last week I visited a local organisation working with young people, some of whom have broken the law, to give them the skills and training to join the armed forces. Ex-service personnel teach them discipline, respect and fitness, both physically and mentally. I spoke to one young woman who was given an ASBO for assault and thefts a few years ago, but she has now completely turned her life around and has the motivation and confidence to build a successful career and life. She could so easily have gone the other way. All across our area, you will find fantastic examples of youth work. The vast majority of our young people are sensible and hard working with a bright future, but some are harder to reach, with little or no direction. We must support them and give them the desire to become responsible citizens and the positive role models of the future, but if they make the wrong choices and persist on a path of lawlessness, they must be met with the full force of the law.  Matthew

Read More »

Dealing with the alcohol problem

Posted: Monday 30th September 2013 Blog: 2013 Alcohol problems in our towns and cities have received much coverage in the media recently, together with suggestions of how we could deal with those individuals who behave irresponsibly when drunk. One suggestion is to introduce so-called ‘Drunk Tanks’ similar to those already operating in the United States and Australia. More on those later, but first let’s examine the scale of the problem. The relaxation in alcohol licensing in previous years has been an ongoing catastrophe unfolding before our eyes. Instead of turning Great Britain into a continental café culture as was suggested, 24-hour bars and low-priced alcohol piled high in supermarkets have seen a new generation ‘pre-loading’ with cheap booze at home before heading into town, already well under the influence. Before anyone accuses me of being a killjoy, I know that the vast majority of us enjoy a drink and behave responsibly, there are also those who have a serious alcohol dependency problem and need proper care and support. The problems we face are caused by a small minority who take no responsibility for their behaviour, then throw themselves at our emergency services as if they were an all-you-can-eat buffet. Every Friday and Saturday night across East Yorkshire and Northern Lincolnshire, our police officers and the NHS are stretched to the limit dealing with drunken behaviour. I have seen the effects myself as I have recently accompanied Humberside Police response officers on night shifts. The vast majority of calls were related to drink and drugs, but mainly drink. I have stood queuing in a custody suite with an officer waiting to book in a prisoner for being drunk and disorderly; often it was a long queue. I asked him if this was unusual and with a resigned expression he said ‘No Matthew, this is what we do every week’. If the offender has committed a serious crime like an assault or criminal damage then a police cell is where they belong, but a huge number are there for being drunk and anti social. Once the officer has booked in his prisoner and returned to the streets it is then down to the custody staff to manage that person’s behaviour for the rest of the night. The screaming and shouting, banging on cell doors, the abuse and drunken threats, all in a night’s work. The strain this puts on our police service is huge. Our public services are a finite resource, and every officer tied up dealing with a drunken idiot is one less officer who should be doing what we all want them to do, prevent crime and catch criminals. As a taxpayer, are you happy that your money is being spent on babysitting an increasing number of people who frankly need to grow up and take responsibility for their behaviour? I for one am not, and I want our police officers to do what they do best, protect and serve the law-abiding members of society. There is no ‘silver bullet’ solution to what is a significant social problem, but something must be done. The police officers I speak to are telling me that, and so are the public at my Street Surgeries and community visits. We need to show these offenders their behaviour will not be tolerated and the best way to do that is hit them in the pocket. In countries such as the United States and Australia, welfare centres nicknamed ‘Drunk Tanks’ are used as holding areas for those who are drunk and incapable. Police drop the individual off with qualified staff who will look after their welfare until they have sobered up, at which point they are issued with a bill for their stay, which will hopefully make them think more carefully about their behaviour in future. Who would run these centres is up for debate, I’m open to ideas from all sectors. My biggest concern is relieving the pressure on our police service. In East Yorkshire, Humberside Police in partnership with the local council are piloting a new scheme to deal with drunken offences. First time or low level offenders will be offered an opportunity to accept a conditional caution rather than be prosecuted. The condition is that they attend an appointment with an alcohol support worker who will assess their drinking behaviour and offer further support where needed. A large number of drunken offences are committed by people who have never been in trouble with the police, and this scheme aims to divert them from future offending. The police already have tools at their disposal such as Section 27 dispersal orders which force someone to leave an area for up to 48 hours or face arrest, and drink banning orders which have been extremely successful in keeping regular troublemakers out of our town and city centres, as can be seen in Hull where the city holds a Purple Flag Award for making the city centre a safer place.   We need a ‘stick’ and ‘carrot’ approach to dealing with the alcohol issue. We must get upstream of the problem and educate people to take responsibility for how they handle alcohol, but we also need a zero tolerance approach to those who think anti-social behaviour is part and parcel of their big night out; their poor choices are having a massive impact on the law-abiding majority. We must find ways to ensure the consequences of drunken behaviour last longer than the hangover.       Matthew   *This article originally appeared in The Yorkshire Post on 21st September.        

Read More »

Getting upstream of the alcohol problem

Posted: Thursday 8th August 2013 Blog: 2013 Since my election I have spent one day a week with our officers and staff, to experience the challenges they face every day keeping our communities safe. As your representative I hold the police to account on your behalf, and I cannot do that from behind a desk, I need to see the reality at the sharp end for myself. Last Thursday, I spent a shift with one of Humberside Police’s Incident Resolution teams, who respond to emergency calls from the public. The dedication, bravery and professionalism of our officers and staff is something we should all be proud of, and when you view life through their eyes, you appreciate them even more. We spent over nine hours throughout the afternoon and evening responding to calls for service, it was absolutely non-stop, and almost without exception there were two factors which underpinned every call we attended, drink and drugs, but especially drink. Anti social behaviour, domestic incidents and crime committed to fund addictions has become the mainstay of daily policing.  Alcohol related crime alone costs the nation between £8-13 billion pounds per year, an astronomical sum, and a massive strain on resources for the emergency services and our partners. Think what we could do if we were able to plough that money back into the economy. That’s why it is vital that we get upstream of the problem and identify and deal with those individuals causing it before it falls to the police, the NHS and others to clean up the mess. In my Police and Crime Plan I have said we need a renewed effort on promoting and enabling drug and alcohol recovery. As well as investing in alcohol treatment I will look to exert greater influence in licensing decisions, prioritise drink drive campaigns and encourage responsible alcohol marketing. I will also explore new tactics to increase personal responsibility for dealing with drunken behaviour and criminality. I want to see a conditional caution for drunken offences rather than just issue a fixed penalty notice, which requires the offender to attend and pay for an alcohol awareness course, similar to what already happens with speeding motorists. We must have consequences that last longer than a hangover. All too often we read stories of criminals trying to make excuses for their actions: ‘I was high on drugs’, ‘I was so drunk I didn’t know what I was doing’. I recognise addiction is an illness but it is one instigated through choice, and those bad choices are having a huge impact on the law abiding majority, and the police have become the safety net when all else fails. We are living in a world of stark choices, we must ensure the right people in society are protected and served, and the best way to do that is to get to the root of the problem.   Matthew 

Read More »

The voice of the people

Posted: Thursday 4th July 2013 Blog: 2013 When I first considered standing for election as your Police and Crime Commissioner in the early part of last year, I read through the literature supplied by the Home Office and one phrase really stuck with me. ‘Bring the voice of the people into policing and bring the community together to tackle crime.’ As each week goes by, I am reminded of this as I read the correspondence that comes into my office, and hear your views at one of my fortnightly Street Surgeries or online chats. If you are unfortunate to become a victim of crime, Humberside Police on the whole give a good service. The latest survey on public confidence shows over 86% of victims surveyed are satisfied with the service they received from the police, which is something we need the police to maintain and ideally improve over the coming years. The police will be the first to admit that sometimes they don’t get it right, and it’s important when that happens to learn from the experience and make sure things are done better next time. But sometimes people feel their problem has not been resolved and that’s when they are turning to me. So how is this ‘voice of the people’ role taking shape? In the days before Police and Crime Commissioners there was The Police Authority, a body of seventeen members who held committee meetings every few months, but most people didn’t know they even existed, they weren’t in the public eye and consequently were rarely called on by the public to act on their behalf. How things have changed since November, you now somebody working full time for you and my office now receives hundreds more letters, emails, Facebook messages and Tweets than the Police Authority ever did. Why is that? It’s because people tell me they now feel they have someone to turn to. I’m not a faceless organisation, I’m just Matthew, and you write to me in your droves, you come up to me with your issues at Street Surgeries, you bump into me in the street and say ‘Matthew, have you got a minute?’ It happens so many times every week. I’m not claiming to have all the answers and I don’t have a magic wand, but where I can help, I will. I can ask the right questions to the right people on your behalf, I can point you in the right direction and I can help you get an answer. Back in 1829 Sir Robert Peel, the founder of modern policing said ‘The Police are the public and the public are the police.’ A few decades ago many people felt that wasn’t the case, but so much good work has been done in recent years to reconnect the police with their communities, and my role is now a part of that. I’m pleased I’ve been able to help quite a number of people so far, and I’ll continue to do so. I work for you and I’m proud to be your voice.   Matthew

Read More »
Scroll to Top