Get involved! Send photos, video, news & views. Text WILTS TIMES to 80360 or email us
Wiltshire Police candidates set out their aims
10:34am Friday 2nd November 2012 in Wiltshire
SIX candidates are canvassing to be Wiltshire’s first police and crime commissioner as interest builds ahead of the county-wide poll on November 15.
Police and crime commissioners are being brought in by the Government to replace police authorities in England and Wales, and will have the power to hire and fire chief constables and set the force’s budget and strategy.
The candidates are Labour’s Clare Moody, Conservative Angus Macpherson and Lib Dem Paul Batchelor, as well as John Short for the UK Independence Party (UKIP), and independents Colin Skelton and Liam Silocks.
No other candidates can come forward as the deadline for nominations has passed.
Ms Moody, a south west regional officer at the union Unite, said her priorities were to protect funding for neighbourhood policing and stamp out hidden crime such as domestic violence and hate crime. She also wants to boost the democratic face of policing by appearing in and listening to the public.
“One of the most commented-upon parts of people’s experiences of crime in Wiltshire is anti-social behaviour,” she said.
“The most effective way to deal with this is protecting those frontline neighbourhood police teams because they deal with it.”
Mr Macpherson, an accountant who has been a Swindon magistrate for 20 years, said he aimed to boost volunteering, champion restorative justice, and commission Wiltshire’s drug and alcohol services together, rather than in isolation, to provide better value for money and tackle substance abuse more holistically.
He said: “You’ve got drug and alcohol services that are paid for getting people off drugs, but if they’re using alcohol to excess that doesn’t matter.”
Mr Batchelor, chairman of Warminster Police Neigh-bourhood Tasking Group, said his main aims were prioritising victim support, as well as tackling drug-related crime by taking on the dealers and anti-social behaviour by increasing the police presence in market towns and rural areas.
He said: “Wiltshire’s first police commissioner should be out and meeting the public at every available opportunity and that’s what I’ll do. An effective police and crime commissioner is one who engages with the public.”
Mr Short, of Old Town, Swindon, former deputy chief executive of Swindon Council, promises to increase the number of warranted officers by 150 and double the number of special constables, by finding savings in the existing budget and starting a recruitment drive.
He said: “As far as I’m con-cerned, from police officers on the ground, the situation in Swindon is fraught because it lacks manpower.”
Mr Skelton, of Salisbury, who has spent 20 years at the forefront of counter terrorism research, policy and training within the Civil Service, pledges to put 300 more police officers on the streets of Wiltshire, ensure the top 100 worst offenders are targeted, cut crime by 20 per cent, and ensure fair treatment for officers and staff.
He said: “I will set up five enhanced integrated offender management teams across Wiltshire, each targeting the 20 most prolific offenders in their area.
“If offenders do not change their behaviour, they will be aggressively targeted for intensive supervision and disruption to their activities, while building a solid case against them prior to their prosecution.
Some of the key policies of Mr Silcocks, an IT professional, of West Ashton, Trowbridge, are to establish an independent panel to review any alleged police wrongdoings and to ban the use of the Lti 2020 handheld speed gun, which he claims is unreliable.
He said: “One of my key committments, if elected, is to commission an independent panel to investigate any historical wrongdoings by Wiltshire Constabulary/ Police at every level within the force, with no time limits.”
THE election, run by Wiltshire Council, takes place on November 15, and will involve more than 370 polling stations and 835 polling booths.
The supplementary voting system – a shortened version of the alternative vote system – will be used.
There are two columns on the ballot paper, one for voters to mark their first choice and one to mark a second choice. Voters mark one X in each column, although voters are not required to make a second choice.
All the first choices are then counted, and if a candidate has 50 per cent of the vote, plus at least one vote, they are elected.
If no candidate receives a majority, the top two candidates continue to a second round and all other candidates are eliminated.
The second choice votes of everyone whose first choice has been eliminated are then counted. Any votes for the remaining candidates are then added to their first round totals.
Whichever candidate has the most votes after these second preferences have been allocated is declared the winner.