Thursday, November 15, 2012
This is what they said...
Candidates standing for the Police and Crime Commissioner role for Devon and Cornwall battled it out in Honiton Yesterday (Wednesday).
The hall of Honiton Methodist Church was packed out for the meeting, which was organised by Honiton Senior Voice.
Candidates Tony Hogg (Conservative), Brian Blake (Lib Dem), William Morris (Independent), Nicky Williams (Labour), Brian Greenslade (Independent) and John Smith (Independent) were in attendance.
Fellow candidates standing in the election Tam MacPherson (Independent), Ivan Jordan (Independent), Robert Smith (UKIP) and Graham Calderwood (Independent) were unable to attend.
Voters will be going to the polls today (Thursday) to vote for their new police and crime commissioner.
Brian Blake (Lib Dem) is a retired police officer and has served on the force for 31 years and after retiring from the police force he worked for the Ministry of Defence and NATO.
Policing faces a big decrease in its budget and Mr Blake told the meeting that he will “fight tooth and nail” to make sure the budget reflects the need for people to be able to walk the streets in confidence and be safe in their own houses.
He listed anti-social behaviour, drug related crime, burglaries and support for victims and the vulnerable as some of his main priorities.
He added: “If I am elected I will make it an uncomfortable place to live those commit burglaries, deal drugs, and make others lives a misery.”
Nicky Williams (Labour) is a senior cabinet councillor in Plymouth and has responsibility for a multi-million budget in children’s services. She is a member of the Children’s Safe-Guarding Board and leads the Youth Offending Service.
She said: “One reason I wanted to stand before you is I really wanted to speak up against the cuts going through policing. We need to campaign for a better settlement for Devon and Cornwall from Central Government.”
Miss Williams said the budget settlement allocated by the Government did not take into account the large geographic area, infrastructure and the large number of visitors that come to Devon and Cornwall.
She added: “I am used to helping preserve and maintain services and improve them whilst making budget cuts.”
Miss Williams emphasised the need for a multi-agency approach and ensure a visible police presence on the streets.
Brian Greenslade (Independent) was a member of the Devon and Cornwall Police Authority as well as a the National Association of Police Authorities and chairman of the resources committee for the Police Authority. He was also a former leader of Devon County Council.
He told the meeting “I have quite a lot of experience of policing and crime issues locally.”
Mr Greenslade said he wanted to see that Devon and Cornwall got a fairer distribution of money for the budget from the Government and has already started lobbying for the release of more funds.
He said: “Priorities should be issues like anti-social behaviour are still a problem. It shouldn’t be the case that people are frightened to go out of their homes and have their lives disrupted by anti-social behaviour.”
He called for the police to work in partnership with other bodies.
William Morris (Independent) has worked as a farmer, miner and publisher and currently heads up a charity called the Next Century Foundation.
He said: “My priorities if I get elected will be to introduce zero tolerance areas.”
Mr Morris felt violent crime was getting out of hand and emphasised that there had been an increase in violent crime and that sexual crimes.
He told the meeting: “We have got to make this a safer place.”
Mr Morris told the meeting that he had spoken with the police and who wanted funding for officers and that a lot of crimes were drug-related, which was an issue he wanted to focus on.
John Smith (Independent) is a former teacher, social worked and member of Devon County Council as well as working as a lead member for children’s services and the Devon and Cornwall Police Authority for eight years.
He said: “My priorities are just this and will be the budget, we have to tackle grants we receive from central government - the first thing I would have to do is get more money out of the Government.”
He would also make good use of volunteers such as Special Police Constables.
He added: “I will make sure we maintain high visibility policing. We do need to maintain high visibility policing - we do know it has an effect.”
Mr Smith said there was a correlation between offending rates and the number of police officers employed. “We have a huge amount of work to do and I have a track record of service delivery and good management.”
Tony Hogg (Conservative) has spent 33 years in the Royal Navy and was a commanding officer of RNAS Culdrose, where he managed 3,000 personnel and a budget of £81million.
He said: “My priorities are to cut crime, bring policing closer to the people. I will support four main pillars of leadership and to first of all appoint an open minded chief constable, address issues of moral and respect for our police.”
Mr Hogg said he would tackle issues of moral and respect by projecting the successes of the police and would look to recover more money for the budget.
He will focus on serious crimes, equipping the frontline “properly” with the right equipment and strengthening neighbourhood policing and special police constables as well as improving public engagement with the police.
In addition to this he will look at early intervention particularly for young people.
Candidates who could not attend:
Robert Smith (UKIP) – He is a chartered child and educational psychologist has been in private practice for more than 20 years. He provides advice to courts regarding child protection and family issues.
He says he wants the police to be tough on crime and wants to reconnect the police with the people and their communities.
Tam Macpherson (Independent)- He aims to reduce crime and cut re offending, protect victims and witnesses and introduce greater transparency and accountability to improve the quality of the police service.
Ivan Jordan (Independent) - He is an architect and farmer. He lists tackling hate crime as a priority area, as well as focusing on strong community policing, protecting the force from privatisation and smarter budgeting.
Graham Calderwood (Independent) - A criminal lawyer for 40 years, he is now a part-time advocate and duty solicitor. He says he would look to using officers more efficiently and look at how procedures can be improved.