Voters go to the polls next week to elect a Police and Crime Commissioner for the Northumbria Police force area.
Polling day is Thursday, May 5, and the result will be announced in Sunderland the following day.
Police and crime commissioners are elected by the public to ensure the policing needs of communities are met as effectively as possible and to oversee how crime is tackled in their police force area.
The candidates for Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner are Vera Baird, Labour, Newcastle; Stewart Thomas Hay, Conservative, Whitley Bay; Melanie Hurst, Ukip, Stocksfield; and Jonathan Charles Wallace, Liberal Democrat, Sunniside, Newcastle.
Below are their election statements. For more details on the PCC election, visit www.choosemypcc.org.uk
Vera Baird, Labour
Northumbria has great community spirit. Since becoming Police and Crime Commissioner, I have worked closely with local residents, councillors, businesses and the voluntary sector to address your policing priorities.
I’ve worked hard to ensure that tackling anti-social behaviour remains high on the policing agenda. Across Northumbria, police officers and partner organisations work to ensure the minority who cause problems know their behaviour is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. Our work tackling ASB has been recognised by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary as being outstanding. I have also ensured that Northumbria leads the way in tackling domestic abuse and violence. A regional strategy has been implemented and police officers are better trained to offer support and advice to victims.
Neighbourhood policing is your and my number one priority, so I’ve brought police officers closer to you. Police stations have been relocated to community hubs, making police officers more accessible. All savings have been reinvested in policing.
I will always ensure that victims of crime remain at the heart of everything we do, and that they get the support they need. I’m proud that we are getting it right: We have a satisfaction rate of 91 per cent, the highest in the country, but I want this figure even higher.
Since 2010, successive Governments have cut more than £100 million from the Northumbria Police budget. Despite this challenge, I will continue to ensure that your priorities are delivered by Northumbria Police.
Northumbria deserves the very best policing. I have always tried to deliver this, and if re-elected I will continue to ensure effective policing is delivered for you and your family. I hope I can count on your support.
Stewart Hay, Conservative
A retired Detective Inspector who, during his exemplary police career, had the responsibility for the investigation of murders. Who currently works as a solicitor specialising in criminal law.
His current profession means he has accumulated 40 years’ relevant experience giving him a unique perspective into policing; this makes him the best person for the job. This election transcends normal political affiliations; please elect the best person for the job. He would not need a highly paid deputy nor would he allow any political appointments in the Police and Crime Commissioner’s office. The post must be made transparent.
In addition to his normal police experience, he was an elected member of the Police Federation (the police equivalent to a union) at three different ranks, representing the rank and file officers and dealing with police regulations.
Stewart is local in every sense of the word, he was born in the county and has always lived and worked here. He has no plans to ever move away, this makes him very aware of our local issues and the cosmopolitan mix of our communities.
• Protecting frontline and community policing.
• Engaging with the public which so far, through surveys and face-to-face exchanges, has confirmed his priority of frontline visible police presence is what the public want, putting him in perfect harmony with constituents.
• Embracing diversity, not treating people the same but in accordance with their individual needs.
• Generating an atmosphere of respect between the police and public.
• Introduce innovation, putting Northumbria Police at the forefront of policing.
• Create bespoke policing plan(s) catering for the differences between rural, town and city centre policing issues.
Melanie Hurst, UK Independence Party
I have always supported transparency in the public sector and as an elected Ukip PCC I would deliver this by representing those who elected me through a positive united approach in delivering my responsibilities by ensuring Northumbria Police are open and honest in their actions and accountable to you.
I am lucky enough to represent a party that will not pressure me into political decisions; I will make decisions that are right for our communities, not the politicians.
I also have a sound working knowledge of enforcement legislative requirements and constraints in executing duties as well as experience of leading people and managing budgets, having previously worked in intelligence and enforcement as the manager of the National Identity Fraud Unit, then as the manager of a region-wide North East organised fraud team. I understand the competing priorities and demands encountered when trying to deliver government targets against a backdrop of budget reductions and staffing issues.
I would like to see more done for victims of sexual abuse, assault or exploitation, such as more accessible services for both children and adults to be able to report incidents through.
I believe there’s a need for this type of service and that it could be developed and led by Northumbria Police Force working in conjunction with local authorities and other agencies to make this type of crime as easy to report as house burglary or common assault.
A vote for another party is a vote for more of the same party politics – but I believe it’s time for change and the only party that promises change is the UK Independence Party.
Jonathan Wallace, Liberal Democrat
Jonathan Wallace – working to cut crime, putting communities at the heart of policing and campaigning to scrap PCCs.
Police officers have a tough job and they need more support. The recent increase in council tax collected by the Northumbria Force must be spent on front-line policing, not bureaucracy.
I want to abolish the PCCs. They have been an expensive failed experiment. I’d rather have money spent on police officers than politicians and their offices.
The police are too often tied up in red tape. We need to free them from too much time stuck behind desks to spend more time on the streets.
I’ll also make sure we do more to stop re-offending. I will focus on rehabilitation and restorative justice so offenders pay back to victims and the local community. This would cut crime, save police time and taxpayers’ money.
Finally, more needs to be done to stop people becoming criminals. We should identify and support at-risk teenagers and young adults before they fall into a life of crime.
I gave up paid employment seven years ago to set up my own business and live the ‘good life’ – growing my own food. This has given me a good insight into rural issues.
I am an experienced councillor, representing a partly rural, partly suburban area on Gateshead Council, which itself covers a mainly urban area. My experience gives me a good understanding of the different issues affecting Tyne and Wear and Northumberland.
I’ll use that experience to ensure we’re doing all we can to tackle the causes of crime.
With your support I’ll make sure we have an effective, well-funded police force that will help keep you and your family safe.