Mark Thistlethwayte. The year in office 2018-2019

My hopes for my year in office

The roll of High Sheriff has evolved over more than 1,000 years, but remains inextricably linked to supporting the delivery of law and order in the county in all of its forms. Today our judiciary, police, probation and prison services would struggle to function without the support of the wide range of voluntary support organisations. I hope in my year in office I can help appreciate the great work done by all these organisations.

In Hampshire we are fortunate to have local courts at all levels. Winchester’s historic position as a former capital of the country is still reflected with its prominent Crown Court. Whilst the High Sheriff’s traditional duty is to protect judges as they travel around the county I look forward both to welcoming visiting High Court judges and to showing them the splendid dimensions of our wonderful county. At the same time, it is the Magistrates Courts that handle the vast bulk of criminal offences so I look forward to seeing and supporting their work in practice.

We all wish to live in a safe community and a fundamental part of reducing crime overall involves minimising reoffending rates. I intend for this to be a particular focus for my year in office and specifically to support the Prisons Service and associated support services as they release offenders back into our community. Far too high a proportion of those leaving prison do so with nowhere to go on their first night. I will be working with all the relevant organisations to endeavour to address this with the aim of ensuring that those being released from prison have somewhere to go.

The increased financial pressures put upon all our community services over recent years have resulted in many innovative methods of operating and cooperation between organisations. I look forward to seeing many of these on the ground and to helping others to pick-up any further ideas that could assist them. The vast amount of excellent work done by the voluntary sector to support law and order in Hampshire needs our appreciation, support and promotion and I hope to be able to meet with as many of these groups as possible during my twelve months in office.