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Lib Dems join three-horse race for top police position

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: June 09, 2012

Brian Greenslade

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The election of Devon and Cornwall's first police commissioner is poised to be a three-horse race after Liberal Democrats confirmed they were looking for a candidate.

The party in the region initially planned not to put forward a would-be commissioner after taking instructions from head office.

But the Western Morning News reported last month a U-turn was on the cards after senior members of the party in the Westcountry intervened.

Now the Lib Dem regional executive has rubber-stamped the move, and the call has gone out to those wanting to stand under the party's banner in November's vote.

The Conservatives are currently drawing up a shortlist and Labour members in the two counties have two nominees to choose from.

It is thought there are already three Lib Dem candidates "in the frame". Devon county councillor Brian Greenslade has previously indicated he wanted to stand. Observers think smaller parties or independents will be discouraged given the costs associated with running a campaign over a vast area.

There will be 41 votes across the country to elect US-style Police and Crime Commissioners in every force area. The post in Devon and Cornwall will command an £85,000-a-year salary.

They will control a force's budget and have the power to hire and fire chief constables, who will remain in charge of operational policing. Commissioners will replace police authorities – panels of local politicians and community figures who oversee the force.

The Government, principally from the Conservative side of the coalition, wanted them abolished because it says they are anonymous.

Elected figureheads, it argues, will be more accountable to taxpayers underwriting their salary.

The Lib Dems opposed commissioners as they feared a rise of "Judge Dredd-style" figures more interested in populism than policing. But with the party a bigger force in the Westcountry than Labour, it would have left a huge hole in the race without their presence.

Adrian Sanders, Liberal Democrat MP for Torbay, said the party needed to be influencing the debate on cutting crime, but focusing on repeat offenders and involving victims of crime.

He added: "The Police and Crime Commissioner is going to have a major influence on how our area is policed and how resources are deployed, and that will impact on everyone's lives."

Labour members are choosing from Plymouth councillor Nicky Williams and Patrick Canavan, who previously stood to be the Mayor of Torbay.

Figures expressing an interest in running as the Conservative candidate include former soldier Paul Biddle, Torbay Council's Alison Hernandez, ex-RNAS Culdrose boss Tony Hogg and Cornwall councillor Lance Kennedy.

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  • buffcoat1  |  June 20 2012, 7:46AM

    judging by the number of mr Greedyslade's photos in the WMN, he is their chosen candidate. Sadly people vote for those who have their fizzogs all over the press...in North Devon they are particularly blighted by Cann and Greenslade

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  • barumbcfc  |  June 09 2012, 6:22PM

    At least some good will come out of it if mr Greenslade were (god help us) was to be elected.because surely he would have to give all his other quango & council posts for which at the moment he trousers almost £50,000 a year.Greedy git !!!

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  • interest_ed  |  June 09 2012, 4:50PM

    No one seems that interested in this election yet but they really should be, its going to have a big impact on local policing, if you are interested in knowing who might be standing and what this will actually mean for D&C have a look at this site, http://tinyurl.com/6s2atr8 seems to be kept very upto date (Its where I found this article)

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  • trevorbear  |  June 09 2012, 3:28PM

    This totally destroys any remaining lib-dem credibility. The party was against the PCC jobs but has now joined the double standards of the Labour Party, saying they are against then putting up for the jobs. The word on the street is that with the candidates are not getting election address free postage (unlike MPs) any individual PCC quest can cost 2.5million secondary class postages and there are 41 PCC areas! This means the Conservatives win by getting the other parties to pay out for the PCC candidate elections, depleting those parties "general election" jam jars. Labour fell in this trap first, they cannot afford the 2.5million x second postage x 41 PCCs (around £20million). The real win for Conservatives will be at the General Election when Labour and Lib-Dems run light on cash. Old saying "If something looks too good to be true" - who said the PCCs were not putting politics into policing? think again Lib-Dems.

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  • Dadododo  |  June 09 2012, 12:07PM

    The Lib Dems will tell you anything they think you want to hear to try and get elected, they will even sign pledges..... however if they get in. Don't be fooled again.

  • Doitdreckley  |  June 09 2012, 11:50AM

    I agree with Nocold. The salaries alone (never mind the election costs) for these people will be three and a half million quid. Much better spent on nurses or teachers. Mr Greenslade has form as a south west regionalist. The police should be accountable to a democratically elected Cornish Asseembly, not just one politician.

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  • nicold  |  June 09 2012, 10:54AM

    One thing for sure is that this commissioner will be influenced by their party's views, not what the general population wants and really needs! There should be a box on the ballot paper asking if we want one!

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