On May 5, voters will elect the person they wish to see replace Sir Graham Bright as Police and Crime Commissioner for Cambridgeshire.
In November 2012, Sir Graham won the inaugural election for the newly created post which has responsibility for the police budget and setting the constabulary’s priorities.
The Conservative candidate beat Labour’s Ed Murphy by 6,526 votes, but turnout for the election was just 14.77 per cent.
Sir Graham has decided not to stand for re-election, leaving the door open for a new individual to take on the role.
Below, all four candidates have penned a 300 word piece after being asked two questions: What they will do for Peterborough? And why should people in the city vote for them?
Dave Baigent, Labour
As Labour’s PCC candidate, I’ve heard what Peterborough people are telling me – that they are worried by the lack of police presence, the loss of local police stations and the ongoing uncertainty about having no city centre location to talk face to face with police.
My response to this is to pledge to establish the role of ‘Peterborough Constable’ – a PC who will walk the streets of the city – paid for by reductions in the cost of the Police Commissioner’s office.
As a man of action, son of a police officer and a firefighter for 30 years, I have a plan for working with all parties and all communities in the city to bring about the policing the people deserve at a time of ever-deeper cuts to public services.
Peterborough people tell me they want to feel safe in their homes and communities. They want to be able to contact the police quickly and have their issues investigated.
My response to this is not just words. I will work 24/7 to make this happen – I’ll bring senior police officers into the community to hear at first hand the concerns which people tell me about like drug-dealing and anti-social behaviour.
Meeting the people they serve in this way will also allow them jointly to agree policing priorities, which in turn will become my priorities that the police then have to achieve.
I have a reputation for making things happen as a city councillor in Cambridge. As a uniformed services academic I wrote the Public Service Degree delivered in Peterborough, and as a consultant I work to make fire and police departments more efficient.
I also pledge that there will be no more reductions in police numbers as long as the budget is not further reduced by government.
Rupert Moss-Eccardt, Liberal Democract
I am a policing and security professional. I helped to establish the National Centre for Policing Excellence and consider it a privilege to work with the police services, alongside enthusiastic and dedicated staff.
As your Police & Crime Commissioner, I will
. Ensure the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough force becomes a leader in best practice and effectiveness so we all benefit
. Strengthen trust in the police by increasing openness and transparency
. Set policing priorities for each urban and rural area locally and in public, with the involvement of the community and its leaders
. Protect the principles of neighbourhood and community policing
Other parties focus on arrests and enforcement. I will focus on reducing crime in the first place. I can cut crime more effectively by doing what consistent research evidence shows works best. I will therefore put more resources into:
. Preventing first-time offenders from going on to re-offend
. Helping recently-released prisoners who want to go straight and stay out of trouble
. Focusing attention on offenders just released from prison who don’t want to give up their life of crime.
Working with first-time offenders is the most effective approach. Techniques that have been proven to work, such as restorative justice, can turn many more people away from crime for good.
Research evidence shows this works better than any other approach if it’s done by uniformed police officers.
I grew up in the Fens, have lived and worked in Cambridge, and now live in Queen Adelaide near Ely, so I understand the different police and crime issues across Cambridgeshire, essential knowledge for being Commissioner.
Being Police & Crime Commissioner is a more than full-time job. If I am elected as your Commissioner I will undertake no other employment.
Jason Ablewhite, Conservative
Cambridgeshire holds a very special place in my heart having grown up and being educated here and working in Cambridge and Peterborough for many years. Married for 18 years to Annette, we have two boys that go to Cambridgeshire schools.
As someone with a proven track record in public service, I have been a councillor for 16 years. In that time, I have held many senior positions, including mayor of my home town, and have been executive leader of Huntingdonshire District Council for five years.
I have been a member of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Police and Crime Panel for the last four years and have recently stepped down as chairman to focus on the forthcoming election. I know only too well the pressures and challenges that face our police force.
Being tough on crime and the causes of crime can only be tackled by increasing frontline police strength – if elected that will be my number one priority.
We need to raise police visibility on our streets and in our communities – everybody must be and feel safe. And we must win the dominant policing issues in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, the battle against drug dealing and drug and drink related crimes, protection of our residents from the threats of terrorism, tackling domestic violence and child sex exploitation, speeding and road safety, anti-social behaviour and tackling rural crime.
My priority will be to drive out the central and back office costs, to innovate, collaborate with partner agencies and ensure that every penny available is spent on frontline policing.
Please visit the My Plan section on my website, www.jasonablewhite.org.uk/myplan – it details my commitment to improving policing in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.
Nick Clarke, UKIP
It is time to take the fight to the criminals. The interests of law abiding citizens and victims must take precedence over those of the criminals.
We must proactively go after those that make our lives a misery. Those that seek to disrupt our way of life or ruin our peace must be taught there are consequences. I want Cambridgeshire and Peterborough to be the most criminal unfriendly places in this country.
I am impatient of unnecessary bureaucracy and expect public services to run efficiently and in the interests of the people they serve.
Illegal drug supply must be tackled with the full force of the law. Turning a blind eye to drug use sends the wrong message to our young people.
Speeding, rural crime and anti-social behaviour cause misery and must be tackled as a priority.
Political correctness must go. Our officers must have the confidence to do the right thing and then be supported.
The 101 phone answering service must be fit for purpose or crimes won’t be reported.
I will cut the cost of the Commissioner’s office, including not having a deputy and reviewing staff costs and numbers, and spend it on the frontline. Costs have soared unnecessarily.
I will champion more public engagement and transparency. I want a more flexible approach to questions from the public, more public consultations and greater involvement of elected councillors in determining local priorities. Where ever possible, meetings will be held in public and papers published.
I served in the RAF for 22 years, have run companies and been an independent member of Cambridgeshire’s Police Authority. As the leader of Cambridgeshire County Council I drove through radical changes to the organisation improving efficiency whilst protecting frontline services.
I believe I can have a positive impact on our police force.Read my full manifesto at https://nickclarkecambs.wordpress.com.