How independent will Cambs police commissioner be?
THE Conservative Party’s first choice as a candidate for the role of Cambridgeshire’s first police and crime commissioner has thrown his weight behind one of the independent candidates in next month’s poll.
John Pye, from Alconbury Weston, withdrew his candidature after coming under pressure from Tory activists to join the party – something he refused to do.
Now he is urging voters to back Ansar Ali. “While my personal values are Conservative, I am not a politician,” he told The Hunts Post.
“The governance of policing must be impartial and non-political. I was certain that I could not convince the public of my impartial stance if I were a member of a political party – and that was borne out in many of my conversations with local people.
“Party political activists are partisan, and some expect privileged access in exchange for supporting a candidate. Those characteristics are inconsistent with policing, which must serve the people of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough equally.
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“I have therefore decided to endorse Ansar Ali for PCC. Ansar is your independent candidate who is committed to impartial policing. He has a long record of public service. He is capable and understands our local policing situation. He is passionate about engaging with the community and setting policing priorities that people want.
“The introduction of PCCs is the biggest change to the oversight of our police in decades. I encourage everyone to vote for Ansar Ali on November 15, to keep the politics out of policing.”
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Will your commissioner be independent?
CONSERVATIVE Party candidate Sir Graham Bright said he had a track record as MP for Luton of defying the party when he believed a different view should prevail.
“The whole idea is that the commissioner is accountable to the public, not the police [or party],” he told The Hunts Post. “I would not operate from police headquarters but from South Cambridgeshire District Council’s offices in Cambourne.
“I want to make it work, and it will only work if I’m independent of Westminster.
“But the police have always been run by politicians, particularly county councillors, and the ultimate person if the Home Secretary, who is also a politician.
“I would be my own man,” he added. “When I was an MPp, I didn’t always agree with the party. I had a big fight with Norman Tebbitt about Luton Airport, for example.”
His Liberal Democrat rival Rupert Moss-Eccardt said his party was clear about its responsibility to representative democracy. “I shall do what is right for the job and the people,” he asserted. “In any case, there’s no mechanism for the party to apply influence on me.”
He said that technically he was not the party’s candidate, but a Liberal Democrat who was supported by the party.
“People should expect me to do the right thing, not just act on the basis of ideological nonsense.”
He said voters had no real idea of how an independent would behave if elected.
“A directly-elected police authority would have been a better idea,” he added.
The English Democrats’ candidate, Stephen Goldspink, said: “The major parties all have big-money donors and history records that they heed those patrons and that party always comes before constituents - it’s one of the reasons I left the Conservatives.
“The English Democrats are funded by the membership, and what is more the leader, Robin Tilbrook, has told me personally that I must first follow my electorate’s wishes, even if that conflicts with party wishes or policy.
Thus I have made the pledge in my leaflet that ‘I will not allow party interests to override my duty to you, and will effectively act as an independent Commissioner’ – and I mean it.”
Paul Bullen, from St Ives, said: “UKIP candidates are standing on a manifesto available for everyone to see but in line with all of our policies we believe in our candidates being in a position to represent the whole community and listen to their beliefs and wishes. There would be no central whip from the party.”
Labour’s Ed Murphy and another independent candidate, Farooq Mohammed, makes up the line-up for the poll on November 15.
INFORAMTION: Polling cars have started to arrive at homes giving details of where you can vote – expect the venue to be the same as the polling stations used for the general election.