Former county council leader declares intention to stand for police commissioner’s post

The former leader of Cambridgeshire County Council, Nick Clarke

The former leader of Cambridgeshire County Council, Nick Clarke - Credit: Archant

UKIP has chosen former county council leader Nick Clarke to contest next year’s police and crime commissioner elections.

Mr Clarke, who lost his county council seat in 2013, was selected at a party hustings in March, in Fenland, last week.

He has vowed to slash the costs of running the police commissioner’s private office, will move it out of Cambourne and into police headquarters in Huntingdon, and has said he has not plans to hire a deputy.

And he will also challenge the role – and salary- of the chief executive salary and concentrate on resourcing the front line.

“I will hold the chief constable to account and in particular I will press for zero tolerance of criminal behaviour and in particular anti-social behaviour,” he told party workers.

He said: “I have had a lifetime interest in policing, from being a police cadet in 1976 to more latterly sitting as an independent member on Cambridgeshire Police Authority, where I was the lead for force performance and deputy chairman of two committees.”

Mr Clarke accused the current commissioner Sir Graham Bright of a “poor record of public engagement and he appears to reject democratic accountability, both of which I see as essential for the role”.

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Among initiatives he pledged to carry through were:

* Re-establishing the role of PCSO as local police presence on the streets “not substitute police officers”.

* No further use of private security companies.

* Improving the 101 phone answering service since “too many people are not reporting crime because they can’t get through or don’t believe they will get a response”.

* Highly visible police presence on our streets.

* Illegal drug supply to be tackled with the full force of the law and “those who deal in illegal drugs must expect to be caught and punished”.

* Challenging political correctness as it is “important to give the police confidence that if they act in the best interests of the public I will support them”.

* Welcome filming of public meetings and “create the default position of holding meetings in public wherever possible”.

* Lobbying for more prisons, more rehabilitation and “meaningful penalties; the £2bn cost of new prisons is small compared to the £34bn cost of crime”.

He told UKIP members: “I believe I have the necessary credibility, experience and energy to be an effective police and crime commissioner for Cambridgeshire.”