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PCC elections: Lincolnshire police and crime commissioner candidates

The first elections to choose a Lincolnshire police and crime commissioner, known as PCC, will be held on Thursday, November 15.

The new commissioner will replace the county’s Police Authority. He will approve budgets, set strategic priorities and recruit or dismiss chief constables.

The PCC will be paid a salary of around £65,000 per year, but will not take decisions on day-to-day police operations.

The candidates

Find out what each of the candidates has to say about dealing with the county’s policing issues, the future of the Lincoln Police Station and custody suite at Nettleham, and how the PCC role will be different from the Police Authority.

[tab name=’David Bowles’]

David Bowles

Campaign to Stop Politicians Running Policing

Aged 62
Based in Sudbrooke
Married with two children
Campaign website

Why are you running for Lincolnshire PCC and what are the skills and experience you would bring to the job?

I think it’s wrong for politicians to run the police but as I researched the wider criminal justice system I became appalled at how dysfunctional it has become and how it has let us all down. It is for these two reasons I decided to stand.

David Cameron described this as a ‘big job for people who have run things’. I am the only candidate with that experience having held very senior positions in big organisations in the public and private sector. I have been CEO of a number of organisations and have as demonstrated in Lincolnshire CC the tenacity to take on big vested interests and hold a large organisation to account.

In your view, what are the main problems with policing in Lincolnshire and how would you address them as PCC?

The problems are not just with the police but with the wider criminal justice system which has allowed repeat offenders to show contempt for the police the courts and us. I would want to work with the courts, CPS and government to change this. As far as policing is concerned the police must re-engage with the communities, with others develop more effective approaches to antisocial behaviour and toughen the response to crime and make sure that crime does not pay. There are interventions which can help reduce offending in the first instance or reduce re-offending. It is important that at a time of cuts these are protected. Above all we want fewer victims.

Lincolnshire Police previously presented plans to sell the West Parade Police Station and move in to smaller dedicated premises in the city centre, while a new custody and response suite would be built in Nettleham. The future of this decision will be in the new PCC’s hands. How would you deal with it if elected PCC?

I would do what the Police Authority should have done from the outset and formally withdraw the proposals.

In your view, how would managing policing in Lincoln via a PCC be different from the way the Police Authority handled the job?

I am not a politician and so I will genuinely listen to what the people of Lincolnshire want. I will also commit to maximum transparency and I will fight for our fair share of national funding. This can be contrasted with the current conservative led police authority which has been grossly incompetent in its handling of Nettleham Custody Suite and has given us the lowest staffed force in the country but with one of the highest Council Tax bills. Worse still when faced with its own government taking away the Police Rural Grant and redistributing the money to other forces it raised barely an objection. At a stroke £1.8m will eventually be lost. I will not have such conflicts with loyalty to my national party and will put Lincolnshire first.


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[tab name=’Richard Davies’]

Richard Davies

Conservative

Aged 33
Based in Grantham
Married with one child
Campaign website

Why are you running for Lincolnshire PCC and what are the skills and experience you would bring to the job?

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 London-centric 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.

In your view, what are the main problems with policing in Lincolnshire and how would you address them as PCC?

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 1100 police officers currently employed?

Crime prevention – with the police only detecting the criminals behind 27% 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?

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.

Lincolnshire Police previously presented plans to sell the West Parade Police Station and move in to smaller dedicated premises in the city centre, while a new custody and response suite would be built in Nettleham. The future of this decision will be in the new PCC’s hands. How would you deal with it if elected PCC?

Looking at the evidence for the relocation of Lincoln Police Station I am satisfied that Nettleham is not the right place to locate it, nor is Nettleham a suitable place to build a separate custody suite. Lincoln needs police facilities of its own, including a conventional police station incorporating a custody suite.

However the issue of county-wide custody needs to be addressed as it would appear that we have a real issue with regards to facilities in the south of the county. To this end I’d want to conduct a full review of facilities and operations as part of my first 100 day plan.

In your view, how would managing policing in Lincoln via a PCC be different from the way the Police Authority handled the job?

The PCC will be able to make clear decisions in a timely fashion that reflect the needs of the people of Lincolnshire. For to long the Police Authority allowed itself to be dictated by others – if elected as commission I’ll restore the balance of power in favour of the public.


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[tab name=’Paul Gleeson’]

Paul Gleeson

Labour

Aged 57
Based in Boston
Married with two children
Campaign website

Why are you running for Lincolnshire PCC and what are the skills and experience you would bring to the job?

I am running as PCC to ensure that all communities in Lincolnshire get a voice in the future of policing of their communities. That it is not just the voice of the powerful that is heard but also the young, the elderly, the vulnerable and the disenfranchised. My background in government service and my political experience gives me the skill set required.

In your view, what are the main problems with policing in Lincolnshire and how would you address them as PCC?

The main problem with policing is a lack of true involvement with the communities they serve. Policing has become a service that is delivered to communities not a service that is delivered with communities. This results in the real concerns of local communities not being addressed, which in turn makes it less likely that people will work with the police to reduce crime in their areas. As PCC I would ensure that an effective network was established where people will not only be listened to but where they will be heard.

Lincolnshire Police previously presented plans to sell the West Parade Police Station and move in to smaller dedicated premises in the city centre, while a new custody and response suite would be built in Nettleham. The future of this decision will be in the new PCC’s hands. How would you deal with it if elected PCC?

I am opposed to both the closing of West Parade Police Station and the building of a new custody suite in Nettleham. If elected as PCC I will not allocate any funds to the projects. I believe there needs to be a fully functional police station in the centre of Lincoln.

In your view, how would managing policing in Lincoln via a PCC be different from the way the Police Authority handled the job?

Having a single PCC rather than an establishment committee should mean that there is much more accountability as to the actions the PCC and much more involvement with local communities in the development of the policing plan. It should also be much easier for communities to have the Chief Constable held to account for the actions of the police. This will only happen if the PCC is committed to genuinely empowering communities allowing them to become true partners in the policing of the area where they live, work or have their business.


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[tab name=’Alan Hardwick’]

Alan Hardwick

Independent

Aged 62
Based in Grayingham
Married with three daughters
Campaign website

Why are you running for Lincolnshire PCC and what are the skills and experience you would bring to the job?

I have been a communications and media professional all my working life. Effective communication and consultation with the police and all of Lincolnshire’s communities is the key to success for a PCC. As media officer with Lincolnshire Police Authority, I have acquired a wealth of privileged information about the way in which the county is policed, and how successive Governments have unfairly restricted our police funding. Added to this is the experience of front-line policing I’ve built up over many years with forces all over the country.

I decided I had a duty to apply this knowledge and experience to the role of PCC for the benefit of everyone in Lincolnshire. To provide them with a strong voice, unencumbered by party politics or bureaucracy, and to represent their interests locally and nationally in order to secure the continued effective and efficient policing of the county in which we’re privileged to live. With your help, as PCC I’m confident I can do that.

In your view, what are the main problems with policing in Lincolnshire and how would you address them as PCC?

It’s ironic that some of the attributes that make this a lovely county in which to live, actually make policing more difficult: its rural nature; scattered and isolated communities; a network of narrow country roads, and its sheer size. Two years ago the Government withdrew a Special Rural Grant that was supposed to go some way to compensate us for the particular problems of rural policing. It was worth around £2 million a year – or, to put it another way, the equivalent of 43 police officers. As PCC , speaking with your authority, I will do my utmost to have the grant reinstated. After all, the cash may have disappeared but the problems remain. The Government can ignore private individuals, even police authorities. I doubt it will be able to resist pressure from a PCC who speaks on behalf of 700,000 people.

Lincolnshire Police previously presented plans to sell the West Parade Police Station and move in to smaller dedicated premises in the city centre, while a new custody and response suite would be built in Nettleham. The future of this decision will be in the new PCC’s hands. How would you deal with it if elected PCC?

As PCC I would scrap those plans. Lincoln needs a substantial police presence; and Nettleham is not, in my opinion, a suitable location for the sort of development envisaged in the plans. West Parade may be under-used and situated in an awkward-to-reach part of the city but it is not unfit for purpose and the custody facilities there meet all statutory requirements. The long-term future of West Parade is a different matter. Presently, it needs a thorough refurbishment at the very least. It is under-occupied, because it was designed and built as a divisional headquarters capable of accommodating far more staff. If it became an intolerable financial burden on the public purse then replacement would be the answer. However I would ensure that Lincoln continued to have a substantial police presence.

In your view, how would managing policing in Lincoln via a PCC be different from the way the Police Authority handled the job?

While the Police Authority did a good job – sometimes in extremely trying circumstances – it was often bogged down by its own bureaucracy. And, despite our best efforts to persuade the public to attend meetings, there was little interest. So it was perceived as a distant entity that only attracted substantial interest when it embarked on outsourcing. A PCC will be readily identifiable as an individual – the person to contact about any policing concerns or suggestions. In my case, if elected, there would be no political agenda and no bureaucracy to blur issues or impose unnecessary barriers between my office and the people I serve – which means all of you. This is a new era in which the public will, for the first time, have their own policing champion. Working with him they will be able to help shape the way the county is policed. The PCC cannot work without their support.


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How to vote

To vote at PCC elections, you must be registered on the electoral roll. For this election you can vote for a first and second choice of who you want to win. Here is a video from the Electoral Commission explaining the system.


Take the poll

Who is your favourite Lincolnshire PCC candidate?

  • David Bowles (38%, 61 Votes)
  • Alan Hardwick (32%, 52 Votes)
  • Richard Davies (21%, 34 Votes)
  • Paul Gleeson (9%, 20 Votes)

Total Voters: 162

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