Police election candidates set out their plans

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The six candidates set to fight it out to become the Thames Valley’s first ever police and crime commissioner (PCC) have set out what they would do for the area in election statements.

With less than three weeks to go until the elections, the race is beginning to hot up as candidates battle for crucial votes.

People will have a chance to see all six in action at a hustings in Aylesbury on Monday, with the election on November 15.

Independent candidate Patience Tayo Awe said if elected she will be a ‘viable link’ between people and the police and not be hindered by party politics.

She said: “Party politics should be kept out of policing to maintain the integrity of the police service and truly empower local people.”

She also listed her aptitude for learning, quick adaptability, desire to succeed, analytical skills and ‘patience necessary to get the job done’ as reasons she would suit the role.

Barry Cooper, UKIP, says it is essential a PCC be put into office ‘who will not only battle against further cuts, but will apply existing cuts in the most sensible and rational way’.

In his statement, Mr Cooper claims he will ‘constantly strive to give the police the resources and confidence to do their job with a minimum of bureaucracy, paperwork and interference’.

The other independent candidate, Geoff Howard, says he sees his main role as being ‘the voice of the people’.

He said: “I will manage the efficiency savings demanded by Government without damaging the interests of the community.”

Liberal Democrat runner John Orrell Howson says as PCC he would emphasise improved detection rates, ensure support for victims of crime is funded and not cut and protect frontline policing.

Mr Howson said his key tasks would be to reduce crime and the fear of crime, improve police accountability, visibility, and work to raise public confidence in the police and target resources on detecting crime and cutting offending rates.

Anthony Stansfeld is the Conservative Party candidate. If elected he pledges to reduce crime and drive up detection rates, maintain the balance between urban and rural policing and ensure the police budget is targeted effectively.

Mr Stansfeld also said he will protect vulnerable people and ensure the police ‘act firmly and fairly, using good judgement to deal with the public politely, gaining their respect and acting with integrity’.

Finally, Labour’s Tim Starkey has said his priorities include fighting 20% cuts, creating a more efficient service and blocking the privatisation of key police functions.

Mr Starkey also says he will aim to improve communication, invest in individual domestic violence advisors to support people fleeing domestic abuse and give victims the courage to support prosecutions and work with mentoring charities and other voluntary groups to provide young people with positive alternatives to anti-social behaviour and gangs.

The new commissioner replaces non-elected police authorities, made up of councillors and members of the public.

Each of the 41 police areas in England and Wales will have a commissioner, except London which already has a mayor who oversees the force.

The commissioners will be responsible for appointing the chief constable, setting the budget and deciding which specific issues officers should focus on.

The Government says commissioners are not there to run forces on a day-to-day basis, their job is to hold them to account instead.

The commissioner will assume office on November 22 and will serve until the next election, scheduled for May 2016, after which elections are to be held every four years. The commissioner can only be elected for two consecutive terms.

The hustings are at 4.30pm on Monday in The Gateway. For a place call 01296 387738 or email pccevent@buckscc.gov.uk

The deadline to register to vote is October 31. Anyone not yet registered should contact the electoral registration team at Aylesbury Vale District Council.

To read each of the candidate’s full election statements go to www.choosemypcc.org.uk