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Police and Crime Commissioner - the candidates for Worcestershire
FORMER army officer Adrian Blackshaw says he wants to see more people in Worcestershire volunteer to help cut crime.
He is the Conservative candidate and he says he wants to unlock community spirit.
Mr Blackshaw, who is a county councillor at Herefordshire Council, has produced a “five-point plan” which he is hoping will bring in votes.
- Police will need to hold more meetings in the community so they can be “held to account”
- Get officers away from their desks more often and onto the streets
- To encourage more voluntary policing by maintaining current levels of PCSOs and asking more people to become special constables
- To ensure all police funding is fairly distributed across West Mercia
- To listen to victims of crime and make sure they are a priority
His manifesto also says he wants residents to get more involved in community safety so they act as the eyes and ears of bobbies.
Mr Blackshaw, who is now a commercial organic farmer in Canon Pyon, Herefordshire, has done three tours of Northern Island with the army and believes he is ideally suited to the role.
He said: “I shall set one objective – to cut crime.
“Police officers should be on the streets, not behind desks.
“I will place local policing as my top priority and will do my utmost to support current levels of police community support officers.
“I will encourage more voluntary policing and community involvement in public safety.
“I will ensure police and partner agencies safeguard, support and protect vulnerable people in our communities and treat victims of crime as people, not just a number.”
He also says he has been told “too many crimes are not investigated” and will make sure the public are not fobbed off when they have concerns.
RETIRED police officer Bill Longmore says running a force with “national standards of excellence” should be what this region aims for.
Mr Longmore, who lives in Shrewsbury, also says he wants police to link up better with voluntary groups across the West Mercia force area.
The former PC, who ran his own multi-million timber business after retiring from the beat, is the only independent candidate in next week’s police and crime commissioner elections.
His manifesto pledges to look at new ideas for the rehabilitation of criminals, suggesting the current arrangement of unpaid work isn’t working as well as it might.
He also believes many offenders break the law because they are bored - and that new facilities to keep youngsters busy will go a long way to reducing anti-social behaviour.
He said: “I had a distinguished career as a police officer and much experience of policing.
“I strongly believe politics has no place in policing and I am the only candidate with no affiliation to any party.”
His manifesto includes pledges to:
- Represent people’s voices about how to tackle crime
- Develop new partnership opportunities (with community organisations and voluntary bodies) so police have more regular dialogue with the public
- Look at the current rehabilitation system and improve it
- Engage far better with young people via the use of public meetings and surgeries
“If elected I will not be a faceless person who sits in an office.
“My intention is to spend as much time as possible in communities working with, and speaking with people to find out their true views about policing and how we can effectively prevent crime and disorder together.”
He has also announced that he will give away £20,000 of the £75,000-a-year salary that comes with the role if elected.
Mr Longmore, who spent more than 30 years at Staffordshire Police before retiring in 1986, said the cash would be placed into a fund to help victims of crime.
STARTING “a war on drugs in Worcester” and cracking down on speeding are just two of the priorities for a would-be police and crime commissioner.
This is the view of Simon Murphy, who is Labour’s candidate for next week’s count, He insists that he would also make sure more police officers are put back on the beat.
Extra traffic calming measures, sending officers into schools to do talks on drugs and moving around CCTV so they focus more on
troublesome areas are three
other emerging policies in his manifesto.
Dr Murphy, a former West Midlands MEP who now does a range of consultancy work for public and private bodies, says his “main priority” is getting a more visible police presence.
His manifesto also includes a pledge to appoint a “victim’s champion” who can work with those who suffer crimes to see what they thought of the police response.
If elected, he will also appoint a non-political deputy commissioner, who will be tasked with “warning” him if he steps out of line.
His priorities include:
- More police on the beat by diverting funding into front-line roles
- Cracking down on anti-social behaviour using CCTV better
- Tackling speeding via extra traffic calming and more funding for new cameras
- Starting a war on drugs in Worcester
Dr Murphy, who lives in Claines in Worcester, said: “Speeding costs lives - I will crack down on boy racers, take action to catch those driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs or using mobile phones, and use speed cameras or traffic calming measures.”
He also intends to offer new training to police so offences like hate crimes, domestic abuse and sexual violence are spotted earlier.
When it comes to his “war on drugs”, he is basing it on research revealing drugs offences across the West Mercia force area increased 14 per cent from March 2011 to March this year.
“Drugs destroy the lives of addicts and the lives of people around them,” he said.
“I will ensure funds are available to combat dealers and gangs, support drugs education in schools and provide support to help local people get off drugs.”
Whoever becomes the new commissioner will be responsible for setting the policing budget across the West Mercia force area.
They will also have to draw up a list of responsibilities for the chief constable which can be funded from that budget.
The election for West Mercia’s first ever £75,000-a-year police and crime commissioner takes place on Thursday, November 15.
Worcestershire, Herefordshire, Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin are all part of the force area.
- In Tuesday's Worcester News reporter Tom Edwards will put your questions to the candidates.