Blog: 75th anniversary of Victory over Japan

Earlier this month I was privileged to attend the 75th anniversary of Victory over Japan Day at St Mary’s Church in Bury St Edmunds. August 15th marks the official end of world war two when Japan surrendered. The Suffolk Regiment was heavily involved in the war against Japan and St Mary’s Church is the spiritual home of The Suffolk Regiment, which is now part of the Royal Anglian Regiment.
I am a great believer in the commemoration of such events; it is vital we all learn the lessons of history and use those lessons to improve life now, and for future generations. We need to do whatever we can to improve society and use our best endeavours to ensure the terror of wars and conflict do not happen again. If we don’t, then the sacrifice of those men and women will have been in vain and that, in my opinion, would be to dishonour them.
In case you are unaware of what the Suffolk Regiment went through, there are some chilling statistics – from the 4th Battalion sent to the far east, 90 were killed or wounded in action, 375 died as prisoners of war and one year after the war ended there were only 400 survivors. Many died constructing the notorious Burma Railway. Some women and children who were captured ended up being used as slave labour. The suffering, trauma and brutality must have been unimaginable and we must remember our collective ability to live our lives in freedom and security is hard earned and must never be taken for granted.
The challenges of recovering from Covid-19 therefore could seem to be relatively minor in comparison to those of 75 years ago – if only matters were that simple. Apart from individuals’ health, my main concern is tackling the economic downturn successfully because of the association with economic and social deprivation and higher levels of crime and disorder. The first half of the twentieth century also suggests this deprivation can be a major cause of global isolation, international aggression and extremism.
So we must do everything possible to work together in this recovery phase and try and ensure everyone from young children to students, the unemployed and others at risk, do not get left behind.
As Police and Crime Commissioner, I am totally committed to working as closely and co-operatively as possible with all of you. A strong economy provides the opportunities for people and the money to look after each other regardless of whether it is the public, private or voluntary sector. Good and effective policing provides one of the strong building blocks for that growth. Freedom from crime, corruption and intimidation are all essential areas of work for our Constabulary.
Many have suffered during the pandemic, which is why our commissioning of services to help reduce crime and disorder, will continue as long as I am in office. Part of my responsibility is to look after victims of crime and help them come to terms with what has happened and, where appropriate, rebuild their lives – this will also continue. As will the work to provide the perpetrators of crime and abuse an opportunity to change their ways for good.
Many of our Suffolk-based charities and voluntary organisations have a crucial role to play. These bodies all need help especially at this difficult moment, so if you are able to contribute time and, where possible, financial support to these organisations I know it will be greatly appreciated.
Helping each other with care and compassion would be a fitting tribute to those brave people who sacrificed everything all those years ago summed up in the Kohima Epitaph, “When you go home tell them of us and say, for your tomorrow, we gave our today”.

Published in the East Anglian Daily Times August 2020