The five candidates vying for the role of Gloucestershire's first Police and Crime Commissioner
11:00am Sunday 23rd September 2012 in News
An election to appoint Gloucestershire's first Police and Crime Commissioner takes place in November
A COUNTYWIDE election takes place to determine the identity of Gloucestershire’s first Police and Crime Commissioner on November 15.
The new role has been introduced by central government in a bid to encourage greater co-operation between local communities and police forces.
By putting in place a public figurehead who is directly accountable to the electorate, Westminster politicians are hoping to boost public confidence and trust in the police.
So far, no fewer than five candidates have thrown their hats into the ring for the post in Gloucestershire, which comes with a salary of £65,000 a year.
The three main political parties are all fielding candidates, with Cotswolds barrister Victoria Hawkins standing for the Conservatives, Gloucester solicitor Rupi Dhanda representing Labour and the former leader of Cheltenham Borough Council Alistair Cameron contesting the election for the Lib Dems.
Retired superintendent Martin Surl and anti-badger cull campaigner Jeanne Berry are the two independents who have declared their candidacy.
Across England and Wales, a total of 41 new PCCs will be elected to replace existing police authorities.
They will have powers to hire and dismiss chief constables, as well as fix their force’s budget and precept, and determine local policing priorities.
With less than a month to go now before the election in Gloucestershire the contest is beginning to hot up with campaign activity increasing as candidates try to convince the public that they are deserving of their votes.
Last week Tory MP Geoffrey Clifton-Brown voiced his backing for fellow Conservative Victoria Atkins, saying her experience as a criminal barrister marked her out as a worthy candidate for the role of PCC.
Mrs Atkins, who specialises in prosecuting serious organised crime, has said that one of her main priorities will be ensuring value for Gloucestershire’s taxpayers.
Lib Dem candidate Alistair Cameron, who was selected to run just over a week ago, has vowed to protect frontline policing and focus on tackling crimes which are rising, such as burglary.
Labour’s Rupi Dhanda has pledged to fight Government cuts to the police and exempt volunteer special constables from council tax.
Independent candidate Martin Surl, who served as a police officer for more than 30 years, has campaigned against police station closures and said his first priority will be to support police and reduce crime.
Jeanne Berry is standing to highlight concerns about the potential threat to public safety of the planned badger cull and has promised to give back half of the PCC’s salary if elected so it can be reinvested in frontline policing.