Humberside Police Commissioner election preview: Key pledges, candidate interviews, Q&A
Voters across the region go to the polls tomorrow (Thursday) to elect the first Humberside Police and Crime Commissioner.
There are seven candidates hoping to land the £75,000 a year position.
The new commissioner will be charged with ensuring the force is run effectively, and with bringing a public voice to policing.
Here are the key pledges of each of the seven candidates.
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Matthew Grove, Conservative
Key pledge: Billing drunken criminals for police time, increasing special constables, keeping police stations open.
Lord Prescott, Labour
Key pledge: Reducing the number of police officers being cut, introducing levy on problem pubs and clubs, launching neighbourhood courts.
Simone Butterworth, Lib Dem
Key pledge: Donating £25,000 of salary to victims’ charities, not hiring a deputy, focus on reoffending.
Godfrey Bloom, UKIP
Key pledge: Scrapping speed cameras, abolishing prioritisation of hate crime, campaigning for tougher sentences for criminals.
Paul Davison, Independent
Key pledge: Investigating every report of crime or antisocial behaviour, opening police stations more, increasing officers on the streets.
Neil Eyre, Independent
Key pledge: Redefining antisocial behaviour, increasing transparency, listening to the public.
Walter Sweeney, Independent
Key pledge: Cracking down on low-level crimes, introducing better use of technology to increase efficiency, targeting landlords who serve drunks.
• There are also four candidates standing for the Police and Crime Commissioner role in Lincolnshire. Read their pledges here.
Police commissioner Q&A
Q Why is there an election taking place?
A The plans to introduce an elected Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) were set out by the Government in 2010. Commissioners will directly replace the existing police authorities at 41 of the country’s 43 forces. The move came after the Government raised concerns about the perceived lack of accountability of the authorities.
Q When will the commissioner take office, and what is the salary?
A The Police and Crime Commissioner will begin their five-year term of office on Thursday, November 22, with a salary of £75,000.
Q What will happen to the police authority?
A The new commissioner will directly replace Humberside Police Authority, a group of 17 members made up of councillors and independent members of the public that currently oversees Humberside Police. The police authority will continue to work as normal until the election.
Q What roles and responsibilities will the PCC have?
A The PCC will hold Humberside Police, via the chief constable, to account on behalf of the local people. In the Humber area, one of the first tasks of the commissioner will be to find a replacement for outgoing chief constable Tim Hollis, who is retiring next year. The PCC will set local policing priorities and decide how your council tax is spent on crime and policing issues. As well as planning policing budgets, they will also be accountable to the electorate, ensuring value for money and regularly engaging with the public and communities. The PCC will be required to publish a police and crime plan. This will set out the police and crime objectives for Humberside. The chief constable will remain responsible for day-to-day operational policing matters. The elected PCC will be responsible for the force’s £180 million budget.
Q How will the PCC be scrutinised?
A It will be monitored and scrutinised by a Police and Crime Panel (PCP) which will be made up of a minimum of 10 elected councillors from the four local authorities that make up the Humberside Police. They will be joined by two independent members or co- optees. The elected PCC will have to swear an oath of impartiality.
Q How is the new role likely to affect policing in Humberside?
A Each candidate will set up a policing plan they will implement if elected. As reported, Humberside Police has cut more than 200 officers since 2010, with plans to lose a further 440 by 2015. Matthew Grove has pledged to introduce more special constables, whereas Paul Davison wants to utilise PCSOs more in his pledge to investigate every crime.
Lord Prescott wants to stop the rate of officer cuts and give victims a say on how community sentences are served. Neil Eyre has said he would not sanction any cuts to frontline policing and that frontline policing should not be affected in any way, shape or form. Simone Butterworth has said she would also not support any cuts and would increase communication between the police and the public. Walter Sweeney has said he will strive to improve value for money and efficiency.
Godfrey Bloom also plans to reconnect the local police with the community and to introduce tougher prison sentences.
Q What are the main challenges facing the commissioner?
A One of the main challenges for the PCC in the Humber area will be deciding on a policing plan within five weeks of taking office.
Covering such a large area, each division has individual concerns and addressing these in the policing plan will prove very difficult.
One of these difficulties will be the difference between crime in urban areas such as Hull and the more rural parts of the force area on the south banks. Another task facing the commissioner will be appointing a new chief constable when Tim Hollis retires from the role in March.
Q What do Humberside Police say about the commissioner job?
A Current Humberside Police Chief Constable Tim Hollis has said many of the candidates hoping to secure the role were “untried and untested” on policing matters. Mr Hollis has also voiced concerns that the role risked bringing politics to the heart of policing.
Q What is the likely turn-out?
A Estimates by Electoral Reform claim the PCC election threatens to be the lowest turnout of any nationwide election in British history, projected at 18.5 per cent.
You can vote if you are resident in that area and you are: a British citizen living in the UK, registered to vote as a crown servant or member of the Armed Forces, a European Union citizen living in the UK or a Commonwealth citizen legally resident in the UK.
The actions of the PCC will affect everyone and they are there to represent the views on the public. Therefore, the elections are the time you can have your say on who you want to see represent you within Humberside Police.
Q How do I vote?
A Votes will be cast for the Police and Crime Commissioner election tomorrow.
They will be verified overnight at designated sites across the region. Election votes for Humberside will be counted from 11.30am on Friday, November 16 at The Spa, Bridlington, and for Lincolnshire at Lincoln Drill Hall from 2pm.
Voting will be by way of a simple majority system. However, if there are three or more candidates, as in Humberside, the commissioner will be elected under the supplementary vote (SV) system.
This is a shortened version of the Alternative Vote (AV). Under SV, there are two columns on the ballot paper – one for voters to mark their first choice and one in which to mark a second choice.