Police and crime commissioner candidates: Lincolnshire

These are the four candidates vying for the role of Lincolnshire police and crime commissioner.

David Bowles (Campaign to Stop Politicians Running Policing)

I am seeking election as Lincolnshire’s Police Commissioner as it is important that people should be represented by someone who will put the public’s interest first and not those of a political party.

I am also standing with an unashamedly ‘tough on crime’ set of policies.

These policies are necessary because there has been a three-fold increase in people appearing in court with 15 or more convictions in the last 10 years.

Why? Because our politicians have been soft and: Introduced a system of community service orders where 25 per cent are not complied with; Written off £60 million worth of fines that people can’t be bothered to pay; Introduced a tagging system where 55 per cent of those tagged have breached the terms; Allowed prison sentencing to be determined by the number of places, rather than keeping us safe; Failed to protect our borders.

The Lincolnshire public are sick and tired of the petty crime and anti-social behaviour often caused by repeat offenders.

Such offenders show contempt for their neighbours, the police and the courts.

Our police may not be perfect but many problems are caused by our failing politicians.

The Police Commissioner has to work with probation, courts and the CPS to ensure an efficient and effective criminal justice system. I will work hard to reverse the trends of the past 30 years and strengthen successful programmes to prevent crime in the first place.

I will:

- Seek tougher sanctions for repeat offenders

- Introduce locally based community special constables with the power of arrest

- Strengthen support for organisations like Neighbourhood, Business and Farm Watch

- Campaign to give real powers to councils to actually ban street drinking and control alcohol sales

- Seek tough minimum sentences for drug dealing and possession of weapons

- Campaign for tougher border controls

- Rebalance the system to favour the victim

- Make the police, and G4S, their contractor, more accountable to you.

But our police are appallingly funded - the worst in the country. It is a myth that this is because the crime rate in Lincolnshire is low, it is not.

Crime rates in the home counties are six per cent lower than in Lincolnshire and yet they have 18 per cent more police per head.

Worse, they have lower council taxes because we subsidise some of the most affluent parts of the country.

Our politicians have done little to redress this but I have started a campaign with other rural forces, with a protest delivered to No 10 and the launch of a national petition.

This is an example of the strong leadership I will give.

Candidates are allowed to spend up to £100k on getting elected.

That fills me with horror. I don’t believe that public posts like Police Commissioner should be bought or sold. I’ve not accepted a penny from anybody.

I’m relying upon like-minded people to support me. Support me at the ballot box and help my campaign.

www.davidbowles.org.uk

Richard Davies (Con)

For the first time since the modern police force was formed the people of Lincolnshire will have the opportunity to decide how they are policed.

Having been born and raised in Lincolnshire I have a deep affinity and connection to public concerns in relation to crime. Running a small business in the county and raising a family here means I am acutely aware of the issues that have been ignored for too long by our Londoncentric policing system.

I was fortunate to be elected to the county council in 2009 and subsequently join Lincolnshire Police Authority, and the three years I spent working at the heart of Lincolnshire policing has shown me first hand how the systems work and also where they fall down.

The role of Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner brings with it key powers but also huge responsibility and the opportunity to make a really significant difference to the lives of Lincolnshire residents. The priorities I would set match the needs, hopes and fears of the people who actually live here, not distant experts and bureaucrats.

Gone are the barriers that prevent real change and I am not afraid to make the difficult decisions that will help to combat antisocial behaviour, the fear of crime and the threat of repeat offenders. My no-nonsense approach will cut through the excuses and indifference that has left many people disillusioned with the police - I am not prepared to put up with the status quo, quite simply how we do things now is not good enough.

Undoubtedly cuts in police budgets will lead to public concerns about the ability of our law enforcement community to deliver on the issues which concern them.

By adopting new business processes and focusing on the public’s priorities I firmly believe we can improve both how Lincolnshire police perform and how the people of Lincolnshire view our police.

My priorities are simple:

l Visible policing - get the police out of the stations into our communities where they can deter criminals and protect people and property. Why do we see so little of the 1,100 police officers currently employed?

l Crime prevention - with the police only detecting the criminals behind 27per cent of crimes - to reduce the number of victims of crime we need more crime prevention. Is it right that you are more likely to be a victim of crime here in the UK than in the USA?

l Better value for money - With reducing budgets every penny counts and we need to focus on frontline policing therefore we need the technology, processes and equipment that delivers the best performance for the best value.

On November 15 we can make the choice to improve our community, make people feel safer and cut the number of people who become victims of crime. To make this happen I need your support.

www.votedavies.co.uk

Paul Gleeson (Labour)

I am Paul Gleeson and I’m a councillor in Boston where I have lived for 10 years.

A common theme of the concerns raised as I campaign and meet with people, is how policing no longer meets or listens to local needs. Nobody talks to me about murder, fraud or robbery; they are concerned about the issues that affect them every day, anti-social behaviour, rough sleeping, drunks keeping them awake at night, vandalism, and people urinating in the streets.

Whilst the police rightly have to deal with serious crime, it is this steady stream of anti-social behaviour that makes all our lives a misery. Many of these concerns were highlighted during the inquiry carried out in Boston as to the impact of population change on the town, an inquiry which I vice-chaired.

If the new role of Police and Crime Commissioner is to be a success and be more than just a revamp of the existing system with the same establishment in control, just with different titles, it is essential that the PCC sets up structures that enables communities, at the most local level, to be actively involved in the way where they live is policed.

This has to be much more than a token listening exercise, people want more than just being listened to, they want to be heard. They want to have the confidence that their concerns will be taken seriously and that any future police plan will start to address those issues.

In this exercise the PCC must be open and inclusive and truthful about the limitations, especially of resources, that exist.

The PCC must also ensure that all, not just the loudest voices are heard.

I am convinced that by working closely with communities, especially as they see that their input is being heard and is making a difference, supporting our police officers in their really tough job of keeping us all safe, we can make the county a better and safer place to live.

I am fully committed to this approach to the role as I am convinced it will improve policing and reduce crime.

One of the big challenges for any PCC will be engagement with young people who often have little or no representation on local bodies; I believe we should explore the possibility of creating a young police and crime commissioner to champion young people’s engagement with the police.

I will deliver a policing plan that:

- Defends frontline services

- Equally addresses the differing needs of our rural and urban communities

- Protects victims and witnesses

- Enables local people to work actively with the police to ensure communities are safe and secure

- Helps build a sense of public respect and solidarity

- Lets the police keep up with modern technology;

- Is open to adopting new professional methods and ideas

- Maintains a fully functional police station with custody suite in central Lincoln

- Scrutinises thoroughly G4S’ involvement in the policing of the county

- Maintains protection for wildlife.

Alan Hardwick (Ind)

The election of Police and Crime Commissioners will herald the greatest change in policing in this country for more than a century. A new beginning, but still with an old problem to tackle – money. Or rather, the lack of it thanks to government cuts.

The Police Authority and the Chief Constable have worked hard and successfully to ensure an efficient and effective service with an ever-decreasing budget. Our splendid officers and staff have risen to the challenge. But surely enough is enough? I don’t want communities to lose police stations and I don’t want us to lose any more police officers or support staff. On the contrary, I want to strengthen neighbourhood policing teams.

A commissioner backed by a public mandate has real power. I would want to use that power, on your behalf, to tackle the Government about its unfair treatment of Lincolnshire – particularly its decision to take away a special rural grant, which sliced £2million a year from the police budget – the cost of about 43 officers.

We could also ask district councils to reinstate the funding for Pcsos that they withdrew a few years ago.

More money is not the complete answer, of course. But it’s a good starting point.

What you need is a commissioner who is not afraid to fight for what you want. Someone who can forge a meaningful working relationship with the public, voluntary organisations, business, and the Chief Constable. Whatever happens in the elections, the chief has operational control and direction of all officers. Ideally, the commissioner should have front line experience and a specialised knowledge of how the force operates in Lincolnshire. It would also be handy if that person was used to challenging senior politicians, from Prime Ministers down.

As a television journalist for most of my life, I’ve worked with officers in almost every imaginable situation, and asked awkward questions of politicians of every rank in every party.

For the past four years, I’ve had a privileged insight into the county’s force while working for the Police Authority.

Which means I don’t have to swot up on how the police do their job or the particular problems posed by a large rural county. I can be an effective Police and Crime Commissioner from day one. Your voice, your direct line to decision making. No committees or stifling bureaucracy to fudge the issue.

A commissioner can only be effective with public support, maintained through regular consultation.

So I’m planning a communication strategy that will allow you, easily, to tell me what sort of policing you need.

Together, we will make a positive difference in this wonderful county.

alanhardwickpcc.co.uk