Across the country the PCC campaigns are starting to properly swing. Last week Labour announced its 41 candidates, and seemingly every day new Conservative candidates are being announced, to join a broad raft of independents who've been taking advantage of a head start in campaigning to try and give their campaigns some early impetus.
As the campaigning is starting to flow, so too the rise of lobbyists - those organisations and agencies who recognise that a PCC will be very well-placed to support their particular issue, ideally financially. The good lobbyists are already making PCC candidates aware of their work, and creating opportunities to engage with them.
A new LGA survey of PCC candidates shows that 89% believe the key partner for the PCC will be the local authority. Community Safety managers understand better than anyone the crime and disorder landscape of an area, and the impact on crime figures of changes to diversionary and preventative work, and that of supporting victims and vulnerable people. Good community safety managers truly understand the communities they serve, and the subtle nuances which lead to - or prevent - crime and anti-social behaviour. They can corral resources from a range of agencies, and co-ordinate activity both at short notice and in the creation of long-term plans to tackle embedded issues.
To my mind, it is vital that Community Safety Managers start having conversations with PCC candidates now. There is nothing - as there is for police officers - to prevent CSMs from meeting with PCC candidates and sharing ideas, thoughts and concerns. The relationship between PCC and CSM will be vital for both sides, and it makes sense to build these bridges prior to the election; the PCC will have to formulate their Police and Crime Plan very early on indeed, and recognition of the broader role - and resources available - that Community Safety Partnerships offer will be hugely important.
So, CSMs, what are you waiting for? Put the kettle on and invite your PCC over!