Staffordshire goes to the polls on 5th May to elect a Police and Crime Commissioner.
Incumbent Matthew Ellis has been the county’s PCC since 2012 and is seeking re-election. Four other candidates want to take on the job. In the PCC election on Thursday 5th May you can vote for a first and second preference of who you want to win.
Before we meet the candidates, what is a Police and Crime Commissioner? What are they responsible for and what do they do? The Choose My PCC website has this information:
PCCs bring a public voice to policing and they do this by:
- Engaging with the public and victims of crime to help set police and crime plans
- Ensuring the police force budget is spent where it matters most
- Appointing, and where necessary dismissing, the chief constable
Work with others
PCCs also work with your council and other organisations to promote and enable joined up working on community safety and criminal justice. The PCC does not ‘run’ the police force. Chief constables continue to be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the police, but they are accountable to the public via the police and crime commissioner. PCCs ensure an effective policing contribution alongside other partners to national arrangements to protect the public from other cross-boundary threats.
Represent the entire community
PCCs are required to swear an oath of impartiality when they are elected to office. The oath is designed so that PCCs can set out publicly their commitment to tackling their new role with integrity. It reflects the commitment police officers make to serve every member of the public impartially and makes clear that they are there to serve the people, not a political party or any one section of their electorate.
George Adamson (Labour)
I want to protect local policing in Staffordshire.
I was a serving Police Officer for 17 years and I know how the Police Service works and what the issues faced on a daily basis by Police Officers and PCSOs are. They put their lives at risk to protect us and deserve a Police and Crime Commissioner who understands and supports them rather than others who see the Police as a business to be cut.
As Leader of Cannock Chase Council for the last 5 years I have improved services while keeping council tax increases to a minimum, running the council efficiently and well.
As PCC I will keep policing local and keep PCs and PCSOs local too. Current plans are for most investigations to be run from two County ‘hubs’. This would remove officers from communities, destroying neighbourhood policing.
In Staffordshire since the last PCC election, the number of Police Officers working on the response units has been reduced to dangerously low levels. Hundreds of officers have been lost from Staffordshire Police. Police morale is at an all-time low and the Force has been found to be inadequate in its treatment of vulnerable domestic violence victims.
Since 2012 Officers have been cut but there has been heavy spending on the PCC office, with the PR machine being put ahead of Police Officers. As PCC I would be looking to run an efficient office to reduce costs, putting money back into local policing.
I can also confirm I have no wish to take over the Fire service regardless of what the Tory Government would like.
Protecting local policing so the Police can protect us. If elected on May 5th, that is what I will do.
Natalie Devaney (Independent)
I am Natalie Devaney standing as an Independent Candidate, my message in this campaign is that I strongly believe that we should:
Keep Party Politics Out of Policing.
As an Independent Candidate I have no affiliation to any political party and I am self-funded.
Upon being elected the Police and Crime Commissioner swears an Oath of Impartiality before taking Office. As an Independent Candidate I am genuinely impartial.
I describe myself as hardworking, dedicated, honest and open with a “down to earth” approach. I will be easily accessible to the People of Staffordshire; you will know me.
Having served as a frontline police officer for thirty years, I retired in July, 2015. During this time, I worked in most areas of our County, Staffordshire. When I first joined I was living in Werrington and had gone to Leek College and to Staffs Poly to study law. I was first posted, in 1985 to Burton and finished my service at Newcastle.
My first-hand experience of policing means that I know what the reality is, NOW and what course of action to take, from Day 1.
I want to ensure fair outcomes for all and respond to the needs of the public. In short, to be the Voice of the people and ensure Staffordshire Police is operating effectively to meet these needs.
I care passionately about Our future. At the end of the day, I firmly believe that an individual needs to know properly about policing and how to affect change for the right reasons, not political ones.
Finally, the role of the Police and Crime Commissioner it is a question of Integrity and Accountability is key, to do the right thing is paramount.
Matthew Ellis (Conservative Party)
“It’s not just how much public money is spent… but how well it’s spent”
As Staffordshire’s police and crime commissioner I have been responsible for spending £180 million of public money each year and ensuring the work of police is effective at keeping 1.2 million people living here safe.
When elected in November 2012 there was a £19.8million hole in police finances but a firm grip on spending means budgets are in decent shape to 2020. I’ve not raised, at all, the part of council tax local people pay towards policing.
I am committed to community policing. There are 1% more response and neighbourhood officers in Stoke-on-Trent & Staffordshire than when I was elected whereas in Labour PCC areas the average is 17% fewer.
The mobile technology revolution I promised in 2013 to get officers out of stations and on the streets is on track to deliver 250,000 extra hours of frontline policing annually… equivalent to 110 extra officers… but at one eighth of the cost!
Critical to the future is preparing our police to meet changing crime in an internet enabled world. Online fraud, organised crime and the abhorrent abuse of children are threats beyond what could have been imagined.
The strategic technology partnership I’ve signed with Boeing will improve the way Staffordshire Police deal with day to day crimes and crucially prepare them to tackle the harm caused by criminal use of technology.
See my website for more about criminal asset seizures now going back to communities, 5700 insurance dodgers taken off Staffordshire roads, better support through the Staffordshire Victim Gateway and how the Police Cadets I promised are enhancing young lives.
Telephone: 01785 500178
Harold Gregory (UK Independence Party)
I believe that the role of the Police and Crime Commissioner is to be able to lead a team, control and set priorities by maximising the budget, enabling the police to have a more visible presence on the street and better relate to working with the local communities that they serve.
I believe that by making their presence visible they will develop links with the electorate, which I feel has been missing for many years. If elected, I would like to go out and engage with the constabulary in different areas, because rural and urban policing have very different priorities. This will enable me to understand and crucially, appreciate through dialogue what is required in the varied and diverse areas of Staffordshire.
I am standing because I wish to help set priorities for police resources and would like to bring some common sense to this role by consulting the public in the community on the issues that are close to their hearts. I would also seek to consider disposal of assets that are no longer required/underutilised in order to assist with funding the very necessary role of front line policing.
Tackling youth anti-social behaviour (which seems to be a rising trend in recent years) would be a foremost issue for myself, assisting in guiding them towards joining different youth activity groups. I would also like to help the parents of school children starting secondary school by having talks within various schools in the Staffordshire area, providing information on the support and resources available if they have a concern about their child’s well-being.
64 Riverside Road, Trent Vale, Stoke-on-Trent ST4 6LU
Paul Woodhead (Green Party)
A Police and Crime Commissioner tackling the roots of crime, planting seeds for social cohesion and building safer communities.
Whilst Paul is endorsed by the Green Party, he will answer only to the people of Staffordshire. He will appoint an independent deputy commissioner based on merit. He has a vision for better policing which is community built and YOU will be able to hold Paul and the police service to account. Community priorities highlighted to date include:
- Resist further budget cuts: Staffordshire already has one the lowest number of employees per head of population. These cuts have had serious consequences
- Tackle domestic abuse and violent crime: Staffordshire’s record on domestic abuse and violent crime requires improvement. He will invest in quality training of officers dealing with abuse and champion other agencies to ensure victims are supported
- Abandon plans to bring the Fire Service under control of the PCC: The services should remain separate whilst maintaining their close working relationship
- Restorative Justice: Criminals owe a debt to society but a greater debt to their victims. When victims want it, we will facilitate communication and ensure offenders make amends directly to the victim. Restorative Justice has been shown to reduce re-offending rates
- Online crime strategy: He will ensure officers have up-to-date skills, training and support to tackle this emerging and fast growing threat
- Drug addiction: Refocus drug policy by getting addicts into recovery and tackling the organised criminals who profit from misery. Tackling drug issues can reduce crime substantially
- Rural crime: Bringing the protection of our countryside and wildlife front and centre
- Early intervention strategies: Working with related agencies to develop effective engagement programmes for young people to prevent them getting involved in crime in the first place.