Junab Ali wants to build a greener police service for Wiltshire and Swindon. Junab explains how he intends to do this
“Everyone should be concerned about the pace of climate change and the need to urgently reduce our carbon emissions and our wider impact on the planet. There is a debate going on about the buildings that are required for a modern police force with some candidates pledging to retain or bring back into use police buildings that have been earmarked for sale. While I have pledged to put a hold on sales of buildings whilst a review is undertaken of the needs for the future, there is no doubt that having police buildings in many towns and villages is no longer tenable, necessary or affordable.
COVID has had a significant impact on our understanding of how the police force can operate effectively and has led to large numbers of police officers and police staff having to work from home and this has been found to be more effective and practical than was expected. This is clearly what has happened in other public and private sector organisations and they will also be reviewing their building needs very carefully. There is no doubt that significant savings in carbon emissions can be achieved from office space reductions post-pandemic – these will be achieved from reduced energy usage, less use of paper and printers, reduced home to work travel and more virtual rather than face-to-face meetings.
I will commit to trialling the use of more electric vehicles. The ranges of the latest electric vehicles are now at the point where they are perfectly capable of being used to replace petrol and diesel vehicles. Whilst initial costs are currently higher, much lower fuel and maintenance costs offset that cost over the life of the vehicles. Once charging points are installed at suitable locations, the separate visits to fuel stations become a thing of the past saving further time and energy.
I was involved in an initiative by South Swindon Parish Council, where I am a councillor, to fund 2 electric bikes for members of the neighbourhood police teams. These have proved to be very effective and practical and I would like to see these become a more regular item of equipment in our neighbourhood police teams.
We also need to look at how the police service in Wiltshire can use green (or greener) energy suppliers whenever possible and this is especially achievable for our electricity needs. We will look at how the police service in Wiltshire can make sure it’s remaining buildings are energy efficient; and whilst ensuring we follow best practice and best value principles, we will consider social value and climate change when awarding all contracts to benefit the local economy, for example favouring local green energy suppliers.
The above is not an exhaustive list. Much more will be achieved by involving our police officers, staff and the public in a programme to seriously reduce our carbon footprint and take a path to a more environmentally friendly police service. “