THIS WEEK, the Oxford Mail is speaking to the four candidates standing to win power as the next Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner on May 6.

Today is the turn of Liberal Democrat candidate John Howson.

READ MORE: Everything you need to know before voting in the PCC elections

Having been stabbed while working as a teacher and burgled at least three times while living in the city, he knows what it’s like to be a victim of crime and wants to work as PCC to improve the services and cut crime levels.

Oxford Mail:

We asked him 10 questions, and this is what he said:

1. What is your name?

John Howson

2. Where do you live?

In Oxford

3. Why do you want to be the PCC?

Because it’s an important role in our police service.

4. Why should people vote for you?

I have got loads of experience and I understand it's got to be a policing service not a police force. That is really important because it encapsulates the value of things.

5. What do you do for work at the moment?

I’m a county councillor and I also work for the national recruitment site for teachers where teachers can look for jobs.

I have also helped set up another charity working with children of those in prison where I was a trustee for six years.

I previously worked as a magistrate in Oxfordshire for over 20 years and in court I heard the criminal cases happening in our communities and listened to the accounts of victims.

I have also serviced as a national deputy chair of the Magistrates’ Association. As an owner of a business, I have experience of budget management and have also managed the budget of a large university school of education for nine years.

6. Using three words, how would you describe yourself?

Experienced, passionate and enquiring

7. What makes you different?

Having been a magistrate, I am the only candidate that has experience with both courts and police.

I also understand what it’s like to be a victim of crime – I was stabbed when I was a teacher and I’ve been burgled three times.

One time an intruder came into my bedroom and I had to chase them out of the house. The police did turn up so quickly for that one. The second time I had to break into my own house. Nobody came that time and it was fairly traumatic.

8. What are your main election campaign promises?

• Community policing – police visibility, having the ability to connect with police. I quite understand that, for the majority of people in the modern age, they can go online and report a crime or call up quickly to connect with the police, but for people who are elderly or vulnerable they might not be able to contact police. If you are walking on Botley Road and you find a wallet with a lot of cash in it, are you going to ring 101 or 999 or are you wanting to walk into St Aldates police station and hand it in?

• Victims – ensuring that the victims of crime get the best positive service they can.

• Working with young people to stop crime. Charities are the vehicle for change too. If you have a properly funded youth service helping young people with parents in prison – it’s so blindingly obvious that these are needed to help stop crime happening again.

• Stop the amount of people from ethnic minorities being stopped and searched.

• Really push the Ministry of Justice on getting crimes into court ASAP. If Justice is delayed, then justice is denied. Lots of community courts were closed down in Oxfordshire too, and Oxford is a really hard place to park, travel to and a long way for a lot of people.

• Getting more police. We have had more police officers but we still have not got back to the same number of officers we had in 2010 and now we have got a lot more population. Trust in the community starts from how police interact with the community.

9. What’s the first thing you’ll do if you’re elected?

I’ll start by having a long meeting with the chief constable, John Campbell, and speak about what’s working and what doesn’t work.

10. What’s the most important crime?

Knife crime – it’s personal to me but also it is the crime that can kill people. Don’t carry, won’t use - that’s the saying.


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