Oxford MailCandidates say why they should be new police commissioner (From Oxford Mail)

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Candidates say why they should be new police commissioner

Oxford Mail: From left, Lib Dem candidate John Howson and Labour’s Tim Starkey, debate chairman Prof Ian Loader, and candidates Anthony Stansfeld (Conservative), Geoff Howard (Independent) and Barry Cooper (UKIP) From left, Lib Dem candidate John Howson and Labour’s Tim Starkey, debate chairman Prof Ian Loader, and candidates Anthony Stansfeld (Conservative), Geoff Howard (Independent) and Barry Cooper (UKIP)

THE FIGHT for the region’s new top police job came to Oxford last night.

All six candidates chasing the £85,000-a-year Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner job debated at the hustings at Oxford Town Hall.

Each candidate made a short speech before the panel took questions from the 150-strong audience. Discussion ran from police cuts to detection rates and privatisation of the force. The vote for the new job will take place next Thursday.

Oxford magistrate John Howson said, after suffering a burglary in March this year, he understood what it was like to be a victim.

He said: “For the first time we do have some form of accountability for the police.

“If elected, I will put improving detection rates on the top of my agenda. If I don’t achieve that I will have failed.”

Tory Anthony Stansfeld, a current police authority member, said: “I believe to actually do this job you have to actually understand the police. I know the police.”

UKIP’s Barry Cooper said foreign aid should be cut before police budgets were reduced, adding: “Cuts to the police are morally and ethically indefensible.

“All the meat has been trimmed and anything more will start cutting into muscle.”

Independents Patience Awe, from Reading, and Geoff Howard, from Slough, said voters should steer clear of the political candidates as the role was to be impartial.

When asked about the region’s “frightening” detection rate by a member of the audience, Ms Awe said: “It sets us a challenge to do a better job.”

Labour’s Tim Starkey said: “Low morale is crushing the police. I am proud to be Labour, but the ideas I bring to this debate are my own.

“I would ask you not to focus on labels, but who is best for the job.” Audience member Lesley Kumiega, from Headington, said after the meeting: “Many of the people standing are slightly more impressive than they would appear, or one would read.

“I need to think more deeply about it. It would be better to have a panel than an individual.”

The debate was chaired by Prof Ian Loader, director of the Criminology Centre at the University of Oxford.

It was organised by Tim Sadler, chairman of the Oxford Safer Communities Partnership.

Comments (3)

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11:02am Tue 6 Nov 12

train passenger says...

Join me and vote against additional jobs for life-time party politicians. Vote for an independent or simply write 'against additional jobs for life-time party politicians' on your form.
Join me and vote against additional jobs for life-time party politicians. Vote for an independent or simply write 'against additional jobs for life-time party politicians' on your form. train passenger
  • Score: 1

12:41pm Wed 7 Nov 12

Sophia says...

The public DO NOT WANT these fourth grade re-treads.
The public DO NOT WANT these fourth grade re-treads. Sophia
  • Score: 0

10:11am Sun 11 Nov 12

Man on the Green says...

I'd rather see a person who has the relevant experience and standing to cope with the challenges of overseeing the biggest non-metropolitan police force in the country elected than give a maverick like Geoff Howard, who hypocritically draws a veil over his long term party political activities and now claims to be 'independent' (perhaps out of embarrassment at the off the wall nature of his political views?) the opportunity to wreak havoc on policing in the Thames Valley. Tim Starkey is engaging enough, but little more than a mere opportunist, whose flip flop politics have seen him go from being a prospective LibDem parliamentary candidate (PPC) to standing as the Labour candidate for PCC. He should stick to defending criminals. Anthony Stansfield was an ineffective time-serving member of the police authority, and would be an even more ineffective PCC. Patience Awe is frighteningly naïve about what the job entails, and Barry Cooper just can't resist the temptation to see this as a platform from which to promote his party's (frankly repulsive) brand of jingoism. Prof Howson may be a bit dry, but is objectively the only candidate with the requisite national and pertinent experience to take on the hugely important job of holding the Police in the Thames Valley to account. It will take a person of real stature to stand up to a Chief Constable who shown herself happy to let off thousands of sexual predators (even a number of rapists), violent offenders, burglars and others who had committed serious crimes, and should have gone straight to court and then to prison, with a mere "police caution" (aka 'slap on the wrist') and other "out of court disposals" that allow her to claim to have 'solved' crime (but categorically not to have dealt with it!). What decided me was learning that Prof Howson took a leading rôle in the national campaign to reverse this highly disturbing trend. He really does know what he's talking about.
I'd rather see a person who has the relevant experience and standing to cope with the challenges of overseeing the biggest non-metropolitan police force in the country elected than give a maverick like Geoff Howard, who hypocritically draws a veil over his long term party political activities and now claims to be 'independent' (perhaps out of embarrassment at the off the wall nature of his political views?) the opportunity to wreak havoc on policing in the Thames Valley. Tim Starkey is engaging enough, but little more than a mere opportunist, whose flip flop politics have seen him go from being a prospective LibDem parliamentary candidate (PPC) to standing as the Labour candidate for PCC. He should stick to defending criminals. Anthony Stansfield was an ineffective time-serving member of the police authority, and would be an even more ineffective PCC. Patience Awe is frighteningly naïve about what the job entails, and Barry Cooper just can't resist the temptation to see this as a platform from which to promote his party's (frankly repulsive) brand of jingoism. Prof Howson may be a bit dry, but is objectively the only candidate with the requisite national and pertinent experience to take on the hugely important job of holding the Police in the Thames Valley to account. It will take a person of real stature to stand up to a Chief Constable who shown herself happy to let off thousands of sexual predators (even a number of rapists), violent offenders, burglars and others who had committed serious crimes, and should have gone straight to court and then to prison, with a mere "police caution" (aka 'slap on the wrist') and other "out of court disposals" that allow her to claim to have 'solved' crime (but categorically not to have dealt with it!). What decided me was learning that Prof Howson took a leading rôle in the national campaign to reverse this highly disturbing trend. He really does know what he's talking about. Man on the Green
  • Score: 0

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