Battle lines drawn in bid for top police job

English Democrats councillor Stephen Goldspink. Photo: Ben Davis/Peterborough ET

English Democrats councillor Stephen Goldspink. Photo: Ben Davis/Peterborough ET

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A FORMER Peterborough councillor has vowed to battle for a newly created £70,000-a-year job as the county’s police boss.

Stephen Goldspink, a member of the English Democrats, says he will contest the election for the powerful post of Police and Crime Commissioner for Cambridgeshire that will take place on November 15.

The new job has been created by the Government as a way of ensuring more accountability of the police to the public as the Police and Crime Commissioner will have to stand for re-election every four years.

Details of the nomination deadline have not yet been announced but it is thought the key date to be officially accepted as a candidate will be October 31.

The successful candidate will replace the existing police authority, which currently governs the county’s police force, and will have significant powers and responsibilities.

The key powers include the ability to hire and fire the chief constable, set the police budget and council tax precept and establish policing priorities.

Mr Goldspink said: “It is a huge job but I am not overawed by the size of the task. Rather I am excited by the challenge.”

Mr Goldspink, served as a Peterborough City councillor for 10 years, was deputy leader of the council for five years before standing down at the local elections earlier this month, and said his experience would help him if elected.

He said: “In terms of experience, I have worked in local government as an employee and as an interim manager, and have managed numerous projects for a major police force.”

For much of his service he was a member of the Conservative party, but left to join the English Democrats in 2009.

He said: “The role is not a political one but clearly voters need to have some idea of what a candidate stands for. My number one aim is to ensure we improve public confidence in the police, and that they prioritise those matters that local people feel are important.”

Victor Lucas, vice-chairman of Cambridgeshire Police Authority, said the new role was an important one.

He said: “The police authority is working with the Constabulary and partner authorities to ensure a smooth transition to the new governance arrangements.”

The commissioner will serve a four year term, and a Police and Crime Panel, made up of representatives from each of the city and district councils and two independent members, will also consider in public how the Commissioner delivers his or her functions.

A number of other people have previously declared an interest in the Cambridgeshire job. They include Councillor Matthew Lee, deputy leader of Peterborough City Council, Cambridgeshire councillor Shona Johnstone, who is a member of the police authority, and the current police authority chairman Ruth Rogers.

There will be elections for Police and Crime Commissioners in 41 policing areas across the UK. The biggest name to express an interest in taking part is the former deputy prime minister Lord Prescott in Westminster. Existing police authority members and politicians make up most of the others.