April 29, 2021 7.56 pm This story is over 15 months old

Lincolnshire Police Crime Commissioner candidates debate your key issues

Watch again the Lincolnshire PCC debate 2021

The Lincolnite and BBC Radio Lincolnshire held a live debate with the candidates for the Lincolnshire Police Crime Commissioner elections on May 6.

Scott Dalton hosted the 90-minute debate on Thursday, putting to the candidates a range of questions on topics such as hare coursing, thefts, anti-social behaviour, criminal damage, funding, fly-tipping, homelessness and whether the role was even needed.

The event was streamed live on The Lincolnite and BBC Radio Lincolnshire’s Facebook pages, as well as on The Lincolnite’s website.

Police and Crime Commissioners aim to be the public’s representative on the force and can hold Chief Constables to account. They also control the finances and set a police and crime plan for their area, ensuring local priorities are lined up.

There are five candidates taking part in this year’s elections including Conservative candidate Marc Jones, Labour’s Rosanne Kirk, Liberal Democrat Ross Pepper, Reform UK’s Peter Escreet, and Lincolnshire Independent David Williams.

Rural crime was one issue which candidates acknowledged was a major problem in Lincolnshire.

Peter understood how victims felt, having been one himself, but said it was an operational decision. He, along with the majority of candidates, said he would ensure the Chief Constable was accountable for tackling the crimes. Rosanne said Lincoln had “one of the worst rural crimes in the country” and there needed to be more funding. David said it was “impossible to answer [the question] satisfactorily” and added he would look to find extra funds if possible, promising he “would not ignore” victims. Ross said the policing connection with communities needed to be repaired. He said more needed to be done looking at the causes behind crimes. Marc said it was complex, but added he had already appointed “an exceptional chief constable” and spoken to government officials to “make sure the sentencing fits the crime”.

Candidates also argued over the salary that the Police Crime Commissioner received with Rosanne, Ross and Peter committing to give up a portion of their funding. However Marc argued there was no legal mechanism to cut the salary. He said there were mechanisms to donate to charity – however, argued he did not want a “race to the bottom” in terms of funding. David said that if a candidate was to offer to cut their salary, there was an argument it was purely a gesture.

All candidates agreed the force needed more money. Marc defended his track record saying the force was getting £11 million a year extra compared to when he started and would be getting £16 million next year. However, Lincolnshire remains one of the worst funded forces and his opponents all said there was more needed to be done, with Peter Escreet saying the rise was “just inflation” and keeping the force on a level playing field. Ross Pepper said 33% of crime in the county remained unsolved because of the lack of funding, while Rosanne said there needed to be “more than having cosy photographs with Priti Patel”.

All but Liberal Democrat Ross Pepper have also spoken previously to The Lincolnite. To read more about their views, see the links below: