Thursday, November 15, 2012
Police and crime commissioner candidates were grilled by East Devon residents over concerns of accountability, and their commitment to the role.
Candidates Tony Hogg (Conservative), Brian Blake (Lib Dem), William Morris (Independent), Nicky Williams (Labour), Brian Greenslade (Independent) and John Smith (Independent) faced questions from residents at the meeting organised by Honiton Senior Voice yesterday (Wednesday).
Fellow candidates standing in the election Tam MacPherson (Independent), Ivan Jordan (Independent), Robert Smith (UKIP) and Graham Calderwood (Independent) were unable to attend.
Tony Hogg (Conservative): “We are accountable by definition from the start. You elect us and can dismiss us if you don’t think we are doing a good job.
“You are going to get the Hogg brand of commitment. You are going to get 110 per cent from me.”
John Smith (Independent) said: “Accountability comes in many ways. We will be accountable to the community any way through meetings like this. I
“In three and half years there will be another one of these elections then you can decide if the person did a good job the first time.”
He added: “I will be stepping down from all my work to concentrate full-time on the police and crime commissioner role.”
William Morris said: “This has to be a full-time job and I will give 110 per cent.
“This particular post is all about accountability and consultation. Of course it will make the police service itself accountable and we will make ourselves accountable to you.”
Accountability, he says, will be done through meetings and engaging with the people.
Brian Greenslade said: “The commissioner will be accountable to the public from the ballot box in three and a half years.
“It important to get out and about in the community and talking to people. It is very important to test the temperature - not all the time should be spent at the office.
“I will put in the time it takes to do the job. It is not a set pattern of hours and I will adjust my commitments as I find out what needs to be done.”
He explained that the commissioner will be made accountable by the Police and Crime Panel who will decisions made by the commissioner.
Mr Greenslade said he will not be stepping down from his other responsiblities and gave assurances he will give the time needed for the job to be done.
Nicky Williams said: “It is a full-time position and I would treat it as such. I will devote the time it takes to do the job.”
She said she is determined to have a people panel to reflect community views and priorities as well as meetings with other meetings with more hard to reach groups and attending events.
Miss Williams said mechanisms will be in place to look at why decisions have been made and the the public can be part of the process.
“I will listen to publics voice and make sure their voice is heard. Of course if the commissioner doesn’t do the job you can get rid of them in three and half years.”
Brian Blake said: “I have never had a nine to five job. This will have my total commitment.
He added: “We take an oath of impartiality.”
Mr Blake said there would be accountability to the public via social media including Facebook and Twitter as well as contact with the public by email and police surgeries.
Fellow candidates standing - Tam MacPherson (Independent), Ivan Jordan (Independent), Robert Smith (UKIP) and Graham Calderwood (Independent) - were unable to attend the meeting.
Robert Smith (UKIP) – He is a chartered child and educational psychologist has has been in private practice for more than 20 years. He provides advice to courts regarding child protection and family issues.
He says he wants the police to be tough on crime and wants to reconnect the police with the people and their communities.
Tam Macpherson (Independent)- He aims to reduce crime and cut reoffending, protect victims and witnesses and introduce greater transparency and accountability to improve the quality of the police service.
Ivan Jordan (Independent) - He is an architect and farmer. He lists tackling hate crime as a priority area, as well as focusing on strong community policing, protecting the force from privitisation and smarter budgeting.
Graham Calderwood (Independent) - A criminal lawyer for 40 years, he is now a part-time advocate and duty solicitor.
He says he would look to using officers more efficiently and look at how procedures can be improved.
More to follow.