Big five questions: Get to know your Lincolnshire PCC candidates

Residents across the county will be making their selection for Police and Crime Commissioner at the polling stations on May 5.

As the countdown accelerates, The Lincolnite has put together an exclusive five question interview allowing  voters to compare the answers of all four candidates.

People can also hear from candidates when they take part in a special cross-media debate, which will be streamed live on The Lincolnite and broadcast on BBC Radio Lincolnshire on May 2.


Lucinda Preston – Labour

Lucinda Preston, Labour's candidate for the Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner elections

Lucinda Preston, Labour’s candidate for the Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner elections

What is the biggest issue affecting policing in Lincolnshire?

The biggest issue facing policing is financial. Since 2010, when the Conservative government came to power, the force has been starved of cash, resulting in a 10% cut in police officer numbers and a 7% cut in PCSOs. Related to this, Lincolnshire’s financial resources are related to a funding formula which is unfair compared to forces in other parts of the country. It is vital that our force is properly funded and if elected, I will be making a fight for more funding central to my work.

Lincolnshire Police’s funding deal from central government has been on force leaders’ agenda for some time. How will you be addressing the funding gap and making sure the budget is balanced?

If elected, I will look carefully at the outcome of the review currently being undertaken into how the force’s resources are distributed. It is possible that this review will show where some savings can be made. I am impressed that the current EMOpSS collaboration with other forces in the region has saved around £4 million whilst maintaining Lincolnshire Police’s autonomy. Further collaboration could be an option.

A current review is looking into how the force’s resources are distributed. Do you think there needs to be more, less or a maintained number of bobbies on the beat?

In my view there should be more bobbies on the beat and these need to be fully funded posts. Volunteers do a fantastic job but the force has struggled to attract even half of the volunteer posts advertised. Another issue is that most volunteers plan their work around their paid employment and we know that crime doesn’t just happen between the hours of 9 to 5. If elected I will make protecting neighbourhood policing the highest priority and will fight for the funding for more paid officers. People need to feel safe in their homes and on the streets around where they live.

If you could go back in time to 2012, would you have supported the force’s deal with G4S?

I am against privatisation in principle: I do not believe that vital services such as the police, education or the NHS should be run for profit. It often leads to poorer services as shown by the ongoing poor performance of the SERCO contract: that is a contract which the current Conservative-controlled county council put in place but which has caused a huge amount of misery. However, we can’t go back in time and should I be elected I would focus on holding G4S to account and improving the way it delivers its services.

Some are critical of the significance of the role of PCC. What will you do to justify the position?

Before the PCC role was created, the force was overseen by Lincolnshire Police Authority so there has always been management oversight. Should I be elected I would only accept the amount of money I currently earn as a teacher; the money I sacrificed would be used to fund community projects aimed at preventing young people from turning to a life of crime. A PCC role is a chance to elect someone like me, who is not a career politician, who can come up with more creative solutions to policing issues.


Marc Jones – Conservative

Lincolnshire County Councillor Marc Jones, the Conservative Lincolnshire PCC candidate

Lincolnshire County Councillor Marc Jones, the Conservative Lincolnshire PCC candidate

What is the biggest issue affecting policing in Lincolnshire?

I would say funding but that’s addressed in Q2 so, leaving that aside, it is the managing of emerging crime trends alongside traditional policing, which is still required to be a priority for all communities across a huge rural county. I have listened to residents in all corners of Lincolnshire over many months and without exception the issue of visible policing always comes up. Whether it’s more local foot patrols, additional road policing, night time response or hare coursing, residents feel more must be done. Meeting this demand and protecting our families from emerging crimes, such as online crimes, is a huge challenge and the new PCC will be pivotal in setting the balance of priorities.

Lincolnshire Police’s funding deal from central government has been on force leaders’ agenda for some time. How will you be addressing the funding gap and making sure the budget is balanced?

Funding will remain the single biggest challenge facing Lincolnshire Police until the funding formula (currently under review by government) is addressed. I have already met with all seven Lincolnshire MPs, the Home Secretary and the Prime Minister to raise the issue and would continue to press the urgency and legitimacy of Lincolnshire’s case. In addition to the formula, there are bids that can be made for additional money and I have already supported Lincolnshire Police in their joint £7.5m bid and would use this and other routes to boost the budget to deliver the best possible service for residents. I would also ensure that best value was being achieved from current spending.

A current review is looking into how the force’s resources are distributed. Do you think there needs to be more, less or a maintained number of bobbies on the beat?

Neighbourhood policing is vital to provide a permanent link between communities and their officers. Cybercrime sounds remote, but in fact it affects us all. Child Sexual Exploitation feels like it’s not a ‘local’ problem but in fact Lincolnshire officers are busy protecting children in our communities every day. These roles are less visible but absolutely essential to each and every Lincolnshire citizen’s security. Ideally we would have a good spread of patrolling and investigating officers. If I become Lincs PCC, I will of course review all of the information at my disposal and discuss with the Chief how best to provide services for the people of Lincs.

If you could go back in time to 2012, would you have supported the force’s deal with G4S?

It is impossible to know whether I would have agreed with the contract with G4S in 2012. The Chief Constable Richard Compton sought the contract and we must assume he had sound reasons to take original bids from outsourcers. Whether I would have agreed with the entire contract or the length of it, again I cannot say until I have read it. I have already pledged to take back the Firearms Licensing function from G4S as, having researched thoroughly, I believe the force can do it more effectively.

Some are critical of the significance of the role of PCC. What will you do to justify the position?

As PCC I would be a critical friend to the force and would welcome the same level of scrutiny in return, both from the force and the public as well as adhering to the seven Nolan Principles of public life: selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership. The role also requires a huge level of partnership working with local and national government, health and other organisations delivering services in tandem with the police such as victim support and those working to reduce reoffending rates. I intend to work tirelessly to bring together partners to tackle these and other areas such as mental health and domestic violence.


Victoria Ayling – UKIP

Victoria Ayling, UKIP candidate for the Lincolnshire PCC election

Victoria Ayling, UKIP candidate for the Lincolnshire PCC election

What is the biggest issue affecting policing in Lincolnshire?

Lack of funding. We are the second largest county in the country yet have been given one of the worst settlements by the government. There was a promise by the government to change the way our funding was calculated, which would give us an extra £8m per annum. This however seems to have been kicked into the long grass. We also have a massive increase in our population in places like Boston and no extra resources have been given. £350,000 is being spent on interpreters by the police and there is even now a dedicated officer for migrants in Boston, whilst other residents are desperate to see visible policing in their communities. This is unfair and unsustainable.

Lincolnshire Police’s funding deal from central government has been on force leaders’ agenda for some time. How will you be addressing the funding gap and making sure the budget is balanced?

Working on a sensible police and crime plan within our means is the key. Pending getting a better settlement, which I would fight for, there are a few areas which would help. A couple of examples are below:

Better use of PCSOs. Although by statute PCSOs have the power to issue fixed penalty fines, in Lincolnshire this is not widely used. I would like to work with the Chief Constable to use these powers more for example to deal with speeding drivers.

£350,000 for interpreters is a ridiculous sum. The force use agencies which quite frankly are a rip off, starting at £90 for the first 6 minutes for a phone call. The old system however, still complied with this with qualified persons on a call out list. It was the police service that felt it was too complicated to settle individual invoices but it was much cheaper than what we have now.

A current review is looking into how the force’s resources are distributed. Do you think there needs to be more, less or a maintained number of bobbies on the beat?

We should at least maintain the number of uniformed presence on the beat but I would want to increase the numbers. Visible policing is not only a deterrent to criminals but makes residents feel safer. This would also assist in my aim to ensure zero tolerance to crime and anti-social behaviour in Lincolnshire.

We cannot have policing on the cheap. It is wrong to claim that any gaps in police numbers can be made up by volunteers. This will not be possible. Recently a recruitment drive to get 1,000 volunteers only produced six. I know in reality we cannot rely on volunteers to plug gaps caused by lack of funding.

If you could go back in time to 2012, would you have supported the force’s deal with G4S?

I would want to scrutinise the contract. This is where my background as a barrister would come in handy. I understand that G4S are so stretched that the police are having to recruit staff out of their own budget to fill the gaps. This is wrong and I am wondering if G4S are actually saving money at all.

The wait for gun licences is ridiculous now, but we have to ensure the right checks are done. This is an area which should be brought back under police control as currently the service offered by G4S is not fit for purpose. This would need looking at carefully to ensure that we would not have to end up paying a huge sum to G4S for taking back this service, but this is something I would want to do.

Whilst I think the force should look to save money, I am not sure I would have gone with G4S.

Some are critical of the significance of the role of PCC. What will you do to justify the position?

The PCC office cost £170,000 less to run than the old Police Authority in 2013/14. Also with the old police authority many people were appointed who were not pulling their weight and were not accountable. The PCC role has no room for a ‘Buggins turn’ method of management.

I would make sure that I was totally transparent in how I operated my office. For example, I have announced who my deputy would be. It is Jonathan Ferrari, a former Inspector with the London police and now a Horncastle businessman and town councillor. Whilst I would not interfere in the operational side, it is important to have someone on my team with policing experience as they would know which stones to look under. In fact with myself and my deputy, I am the only candidate offering both legal and policing experience.

I would ensure I attended parish and town council meetings as much as possible to hear residents’ views and to take on board issues and ideas.


Daniel Simpson – Lincolnshire Independents

Daniel Simpson, the Lincolnshire Independents candidate for the Police and Crime Commissioner.

Daniel Simpson, the Lincolnshire Independents candidate for the Police and Crime Commissioner.

What is the biggest issue affecting policing in Lincolnshire?

Funding for the police, victim support and rehabilitation schemes.

Lincolnshire Police’s funding deal from central government has been on force leaders’ agenda for some time. How will you be addressing the funding gap and making sure the budget is balanced?

Have a major review of costs including G4S contract and its capacity to deliver.

A current review is looking into how the force’s resources are distributed. Do you think there needs to be more, less or a maintained number of bobbies on the beat?

Preferably more, but certainly maintained at present level.

If you could go back in time to 2012, would you have supported the force’s deal with G4S?

History. Dealing with the here and now. Does G4S have the capacity to deliver at the price? If not find the solution. G4S contract is a means of reducing the pension liability which is why there is no appetite to bring services back in house.

Some are critical of the significance of the role of PCC. What will you do to justify the position?

Do the job well. Engage with the public, business, agencies and partnerships and with that knowledge control the budget to place policing priorities were needed. The commissioner is the only route people can have their say on policing and crime reduction and influence the priorities.


What is a Police and Crime Commissioner?

A Police and Crime Commissioner is an elected official charged with securing effective and efficient policing in a force area.

The role was introduced in 2012 and the PCC office took responsibility for a combined police force area budget of £8 million.

PCCs aim to cut crime and deliver sustainable policing, whilst also having the power to hold the force and its Chief Constable to account.

Under the terms of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011, PCCs must:

  • Secure an efficient and effective police for their area
  • Appoint the Chief Constable, hold them to account for running the force, and if necessary dismiss them
  • Set the police and crime objectives for their area through a police and crime plan
  • Set the force budget and determine the precept
  • Contribute to the national and international policing capabilities set out by the Home Secretary; and
    bring together community safety and criminal justice partners, to make sure local priorities are joined up
  • More detailed information on PCC powers and responsibilities is also available on the Home Office website.

Lincolnshire’s current Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Hardwick is not standing for re-election.

The elections for the Police and Crime Commissioner uses the supplementary voting system. This is the system used in Mayoral elections.

Under the supplementary vote system, a voter is asked to indicate first and second preferences, if no candidate receives more than 50% of the first preference votes, the two candidates with the highest number of first preference votes go forward to a second round.

In the second round of counting, ballots indicating a first preference for a candidate that lost the first round are reallocated according to the second preference indicated in the ballot paper.