Devon and Cornwall Police Commissioner Candidates: Any Cornish Ones?
On November 15th, much of the UK will be going to the polls to vote for a Police Commissioner. Up to this point I have not given this subject a lot of though, but after seeing a display at a conference, I thought I should. So, what will the Police Commissioner (sorry, but every time I see Police Commissioner I think of Batman) do, and be responsible for?
At the Home Office website it explains simply the roles and responsibilities. In essence, the role will provide stronger and more transparent accountability of the police, PCCs will be elected by the public to hold chief constables and the force to account; effectively making the police answerable to the communities they serve (if you believe that).
So, who has thrown their names into the bag for this role? The Labour Party, have been quick of the mark and have already selected their candidate Nicky Williams, a Councillor from Plymouth. The Liberal Democrats have yet to confirm any candidates, even though a party member from Devon is ‘thinking’ of standing, but as an Independent. As for any other standalone Independent it is hard to tell if there will be many. This is party due to the cost to stand as a candidate. The initial deposit is £5,000, and then on top of that is the election costs. These won’t be cheap either.
For the Conservatives, they have at least five to choose from. This should be whittled down in the coming months by means of open primaries in Exeter, Plymouth, and West Cornwall. This list includes: Suzie Colley, Paul Biddle MBE, Alison Hernandez who are all from Devon. These are two candidates from Cornwall, these are former Royal Navy man Tony Hogg, and Cornwall Council’s one and only Lance Kennedy (though the rumour is he has not been selected in the run-off).
Out of all the ‘thinking’ or declared candidates only two live in Cornwall. It might be an interesting dilemma for the Cornish to find any interest in voting for a candidate who has no real connection or understanding of Cornwall. Could the remaining two parties who have yet to select a candidate, take the steps to select a Cornish based candidate to give them that edge? The Cornish connection is important to many in Cornwall. Then again. Devon does have nearly double the population of Cornwall and those in Devon might not feel happy with having a Commissioner who is from, or even based in Cornwall.
No doubt whoever is standing, we will be seeing the election campaign ramp-up in the coming months with the prize of political control of a police force. This is what scares me the most from the whole concept of an elected Police Commissioner. I have never thought politics and police mix well.