Former detective elected as new Peterborough and Cambridgeshire crime chief

A former detective has been elected as the new Cambridgeshire Police and Crime Commissioner.

Sunday, 9th May 2021, 12:16 pm

Conservative candidate Darryl Preston triumphed over Liberal Democrat Rupert Moss-Eccardt, Labour’s Nicky Massey and Susan Morris from Reform UK.

Mr Preston will take over from Ray Bisby who was filling the role on an interim basis following the resignation of Jason Ablewhite.

The election was due to have taken place last year but was delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Darryl Preston

Mr Preston follows Mr Ablewhite and Sir Graham Bright (both Conservatives) in holding the role which will see him responsible for the running of Cambridgeshire Constabulary.

The dad of two will take over the post with a wealth of experience across policing having risen from being a teenage cadet to becoming a senior detective with Met Police.

The Ely resident also has an intimate knowledge of policing in Cambridgeshire having served in the force in frontline and neighbourhood roles, before moving into detective work.

After leaving the constabulary he joined the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners as a senior policy manager, working with the Home Office on areas including serious organised crime, violence, county lines drugs, forensics and armed policing.

When interviewed by the Peterborough Telegraph he promoted a two-pronged approach of “robust enforcement” and “early intervention” if elected, with a pledge to increase police officer numbers.

He has also vowed that the police under his watch will do more to tackle fly-tipping.

Mr Preston won in the second round of voting, with first and second preference votes totalling 114,153, 52.76 per cent. 

Labour’s Nicky Massey came second, with first and second preference votes totalling 102,195, 47.24 per cent.

Mr Preston told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “I’m feeling really excited. I’m really grateful to the residents of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough for them to put their faith in me, but now we’ve got work to do. We need to get these extra police officers, we need to get them out there visible in our neighbourhoods, cutting and fighting crime and keeping all of our communities safe”. 

Mr Preston, when asked if his victory will start a new chapter for the office, said: “Well, I am me. I based my campaign on honesty and integrity, I was a police officer for 30 years, when I start my job I’ll hit that ground running, my job is all about protecting the communities of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough”. 

 In his acceptance speech, Mr Preston said: “To serve as a Police and Crime Commissioner is a privilege, and it’s a privilege that carries great responsibility, and it’s an honour that I do not take lightly. I understand that responsibility and that is to represent the people of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, all the residents of our great county, giving them the voice and keeping all of our community safe. Now, in a few days time, I’ll be taking an oath of office, and that is enshrined in law, and I will swear that I will act with integrity and diligence in my role and to the best of my ability. I will execute the duties of my office to ensure that the police are able to, and here’s the thing, cut crime and protect people. Cutting crime, protecting the public and supporting victims, those are my priorities, and they’re my priorities because they are the priorities of the people of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough”.

Mr Preston secured 42.9 per cent in the first round, Ms Massey, 31.3 per cent, Lib Dem Rupert Moss-Eccardt 22.3 per cent, and Reform UK’s Susan Morris 3.48 per cent. The Lib Dem and Reform UK candidates were then eliminated and the second preference votes of voters who chose the eliminated candidates as their first preference were added to the totals of the other two if applicable. 

In her speech from the podium, runner-up Nicky Massey said: “What an amazing set of elections we’ve had. 

“I’m really honoured to still be standing here. That 102,000 votes – thank you to every single one of you that voted for me, and I’m not going anywhere and I won’t go quietly, you will hear me roar. I will be standing up for [against] domestic abuse, I will be standing up for [against] sexual harassment of women, I will be your voice, together we are going to make a change we’re just going to do it in a slightly different way, so please for those of you who voted for me, join me on my next journey, where we will make a difference and we are definitely going to smash domestic abuse out the ballpark”.