NORTHUMBERLAND residents will go to the polls next Thursday to vote for their police and crime commissioner (PCC).
Every force in the country will have a PCC, who will represent their communities and provide a link between the public and the police.
In the Northumbria Police area, candidates come from all sides of the political spectrum. They are Peter Andras (Liberal Democrats), Vera Baird (Labour), Alistair Baxter (UKIP) and Phil Butler (Conservatives).
The Home Office says PCCs will make forces truly accountable to the communities they serve, ensuring that resources are properly targeted to where they are needed and giving the public a greater say in measures to reduce crime and improve community safety.
• represent and engage with all those who live and work in the communities in their force area and identify their policing needs;
• set priorities that meet those needs by agreeing a local strategic plan for the force;
• hold the chief constable to account for achieving these priorities as efficiently and effectively as possible and playing a role in wider questions of community safety;
• set the force budget and the policing precept in council tax bills;
• appoint – and, where necessary, remove – the chief constable.
Prime Minister David Cameron said: “My message for these elections is clear. If you want more tough policing, you can get it.
“If you want police officers who are on the beat, on your street, cracking down on anti-social behaviour, focusing on the things you care about, then don’t just talk about it – get out on November 15 and vote.”
Messages from the candidates are printed to the right.
To find out more about those standing for the Northumbria Police role and the different ways you can vote, visit www.choosemypcc.org.uk
AS a father nothing is more important than providing a safe and secure environment in which to raise my children.
As your Police and Crime Commissioner, my top priority will be to ensure our streets are safe and our children have a safe and secure environment in which to grow up.
I will make sure your voice is heard. I have great respect for our local police, especially when so often they put other people’s safety above their own, however local communities need a greater say in how our streets are policed.
If elected as your Police Commissioner I will treat all areas of the Northumbria Police Force areas the same. I will not play politics with the police.
I aim to ensure the police become a more visible presence to local residents, preventing crime and bringing criminals to justice.
I also promise to ensure value for money for taxpayers in Northumbria.
THE Police Commissioner must be the ‘fresh pair of eyes’ with none of the baggage of a politics or a police career, and independent of a remote party whip (UKIP has none).
This is not about fixing something but is about a change of culture and way of operating so that the police serve the public, not the other way round.
I stand for: • Being tough on crime, including nuisance or anti-social behaviour.
• Being determined to re-connect the police with the people and their communities.
• Punishments that fit the crime.
• Preventing crime and re-offending.
I will work for • More police officers, specials and PCSOs on our streets.
• Involving the public in local policing priorities.
• Improved value-for-money for the taxpayer through working and system efficiencies.
IF you vote Labour, Vera says she will do the following.
• Stand up for our communities against the Tory/LibDem cuts and the potential loss of 700 police and 200 Police and Community Safety Officers (PCSOs) in the Northumbria area.
• Keep police and PCSOs on the beat with neighbourhood policing.
• Make sure victims of crime are at the centre of events from early investigation, kept in touch with progress and treated with dignity throughout.
• Ensure a strong and swift response to the repeated anti-social behaviour that blights too many of our communities.
• Tackle domestic and sexual violence and exploitation of children as a top priority.
• Forge better co-operation between the police, community groups, local councils and other agencies.
IF elected, Phil states that he will ensure the police reduce crime further and stamp out all forms of anti-social behaviour blighting towns and villages.
He said: “I believe the public want to see a tough, no nonsense Police and Crime Commissioner rather than a career politician.
“Criminals will take advantage of a Police and Crime Commissioner who uses the post with a political axe to grind and doesn’t focus on the job at hand.”
He will support the police, but challenge when necessary, and also listen to the community and look for new and innovative ways to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour, getting the balance right between prevention and enforcement.
One way Phil believes that crime figures can be lowered even further is to address the issue of alcohol, about 50 percent of all crime is linked to alcohol. He wants to reduce its affordability, availability and desirability.