Reform UK candidate and cybersecurity consultant Peter Escreet is the wildcard for this year’s Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) elections on May 6.
Despite standing for the party formerly named the Brexit Party, Escreet’s overarching promise to voters is that he is not a politician. He insists that while his political views align with the party, he “will always put Lincolnshire first”.
Escreet’s main criticisms of the force’s current practices are ‘outdated technologies’ and funding shortfalls, issues which he believes his experience in IT and the private sector puts him in the position to fix.
“There’s no limit” to how far he would go to increase funding, he promised.
“It’s about getting our fair share of funds and our fair share of policing numbers.”
The PCC oversees the strategy and finances of the police force and hires and fires chief constables, who are responsible for daily policing operations. Marc Jones was the second elected PCC of Lincolnshire in May 2016, and the role is paid £65,000 per year.
Peter Escreet is one of five fighting for the role of PCC. Labour City of Lincoln councillor Rosanne Kirk, Lincolnshire Independent David Williams and Liberal Democrat Ross Pepper are the other Lincolnshire PCC candidates. Incumbent Marc Jones will stand again for the Conservatives.
Mr Escreet, from Grantham, is a technical consultant with a background in IT for almost 20 years and 10 years in cybersecurity. He has experience with the financial, education, and utilities industries.
His message for the people of Lincolnshire unsure on who to vote for is to “look at the individual and not the party.”
Escreet told reporters he has conservative views politically and has experience with financial efficiencies.
“I look at efficiencies and that’s the way we’re spending and driving processes and I think that’s exactly what the police force needs to be done.
“I think Lincolnshire Police is 10 years behind the rest of police forces in the country with regards to processes and technology and I think they need somebody to come in from the private sector who’s got the experience and actually can recommend changes.”
He does not think he will have a deputy because he wants to take full accountability and responsibility for the role.
With regards to the low morale in the force, from Mr Escreet’s experience, seeing “low morale in the troops is normally down to bad management”.
Reform UK is a political party founded as the Brexit Party in November 2018 by Nigel Farage and Catherine Blaiklock but was renamed in January 2021. Nigel Farage stepped down as Reform UK party leader in March 2021, replaced by Richard Tice. Before this, Mr Farage was the leader of UKIP.
In 2016, UKIP candidate Victoria Ayling was the runner up to Marc Jones in the race to become the next PCC.