VOTERS are set to go to the polls on May 5 to elect Warwickshire’s next Police and Crime Commissioner.
Julie Jackson, Ben Twomey, David Whitehouse, Philip Seccombe, Rob Harris, and Nicola Davies are all in the running for the post following Ron Ball’s decision to step down.
Below they tell Observer readers why they deserve your vote:
Nicola Davies (Lib Dem):
I AM standing in this election to ensure the views of the public are at the heart of policing in Warwickshire.
I will demand the highest standards from our police and provide a strong challenge to the chief constable if performance isn’t up to scratch.
I haven’t worked within the police or the military; neither of which are qualifications for the role of commissioner.
As a member of the Warwickshire Police and Crime Panel for the past three years I have shown an independent mind, asked questions and demanded answers.
I live in Leamington with my husband and two children and have run my own business for the past five years – I am also a county councillor.
I understand the importance of delivering value for money.
My top priorities are protecting numbers of police officers and community support officers (PCSOs), increasing police neighbourhood visibility and giving PCSOs more powers.
I would create a victims charter to give victims a stronger voice. I would also ensure 999 and 101 calls made in Warwickshire are answered in Warwickshire and I would keep a Warwickshire Chief Constable and say no merger with West Mercia.
If you agree please vote for me on May 5.
Rob Harris (UKIP):
THE POST of Police and Crime Commissioner will allow me to follow two passions in my life.
The first being a chance to give voice to those people that feel they have been disenfranchised when it comes to representation. The four years as voluntary elected chairperson of Warwick District Council’s tenant panel gave me the opportunity to take advantage of courses on issues like anti-social behaviour, in both experiencing and listening to people whose lives are made miserable by events that were barely paid lip service to.
Those closeted in their ivory towers – concerned more about the glossy image of their organisations – than that of people affected, spurred me on to get the education I missed out on in my youth.
I decided to embark on a Research and Politics degree course firstly at college then at The University of Warwick.
My second passion is having a safe community that we can all enjoy, not just for the young and elderly who statistically are the most vulnerable members of society affected by crime, but for all.
Crime is not a lifestyle option. Some of society’s young people feel dealing drugs is a career path – we must change that.
Julie Jackson (Labour):
I GREW up in Warwickshire, was educated here and continue to be actively involved in the community.
I am currently deputy leader of Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council and have served as a local government councillor for almost 20 years.
I started my career in management, served as a non- executive director at the George Eliot Hospital Trust and later worked for Mike O’Brien when he was an MP.
My experience of setting budgets and policy makes me an excellent candidate and Warwickshire needs a Police and Crime Commissioner who stands up for our residents.
We need to invest in high visibility policing and our Safer Neighbourhood Teams – they are the bedrock of community policing. Victims of crime first, criminals caught and our communities both safe and feeling safe.
In developing a new Police and Crime Plan for Warwickshire I will begin by listening hard to the aspirations and priorities of our diverse communities.
This will make sure our new plan reflects the needs of Warwickshire, not the penny pinching of the Government.
Cuts are being made to police budgets in Warwickshire – this cannot be defended and I will speak out loudly about this inequity.
I will examine our budget carefully to ensure that Warwickshire receives the high quality, efficient and effective policing it deserves.
Philip Seccombe (Conservative):
I AM standing in this important election to make Warwickshire a safer place to live, work and visit.
I have visited all parts of the county and have listened to concerns from residents, communities and businesses.
Crime is too high and I want to assist our police to reduce it by increasing their numbers and making them more visible.
They also need to be well equipped, trained and motivated to deter crime and enforce the law.
I have been a district councillor for 14 years and attended many events and meetings. I also served in the Warwickshire Yeomanry for 25 years, with a spell as commanding officer.
Together with founding and running my own successful business for the last 28 years, I have the experience and skills to serve as Police and Crime Commissioner.
As a Warwickshire resident for nearly all my life, I want to set the direction of the police for the next 4 years to reduce crime, deter criminals and work with other agencies to support victims and the vulnerable in our society.
This must all be achieved by giving the taxpayer value for money and prioritising the front line.
David Whitehouse (Independent):
I AM running for the position of Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner as I believe I have the experience and knowledge required to hold the chief constable to account.
As well as being independent from political influence, I spent 35 years working for the Warwickshire Police force across all five boroughs before retiring five years ago.
My years in the force mean I understand the demands placed on the police, from the need to protect the community from harm to the importance of increasing visibility and reassurance.
I also have a proven record of working with communities and organisation in crime reduction, and clear understanding of the costs involved in providing a sensible budget to deliver an effective and efficient police force.
Since leaving the force, I see the delivery of policing throughout the county in a different perspective.
I care about the reduction of officers throughout the county, as a result of the budget cuts made to the force over the past five years and would look to increase visibility as a main priority.
I can assure voters that my decision-making will be based solely on their best interests, and hope they will support me as I continue my campaign to create a safer Warwickshire.
Ben Twomey (Independent):
YOU HAVE probably noticed all the other candidates are preoccupied with police visibility.
My priority is fewer criminals – tackling crime at its source by preventing criminal attitudes and behaviours from developing.
Born and raised in Warwickshire, I’m standing as an independent candidate because party politics has no place in our local policing.
I am the only candidate with direct experience of working for two PCCs – I know what PCCs can do and will hit the ground running after May 5.
I am also the only candidate backed by former chief constables, and I’m proud to have two of them endorsing my policies.
Our county needs a fresh approach to tackling crime and I’m concerned the other candidates are ignoring the real issues.
One in four women will experience domestic abuse in their lifetime, yet no other candidate is treating domestic abuse as a priority.
At least 50 per cent of prisoners today were sentenced for drug-related offences, yet I’m the only candidate even talking about drugs.
We’re all talking about listening to local people, yet I’m the only candidate promising to share the PCC’s powers with the community.
Vote Ben Twomey so we can start to deal with the issues that really matter.