Public questions Crime Commissioner candidates

CANDIDATES for the first ever Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) were questioned on domestic violence, hate crime and party politics at a public meeting last night (Thurs).

With election day drawing closer - for the role which will take charge over Avon and Somerset - the gathering at Weston’s Winter Gardens allowed North Somerset residents to voice their opinion on the new policing priorities.

The new commissioner will replace the current Avon and Somerset police authority and oversee the work of the police on behalf of residents.

The three major political parties have put forward candidates for the role and are joined by one independent.

Sue Mountstevens, an independent who was a magistrate for 15 years, aims to reduce crime and protect residents and police from political interference.

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She said: “I do not want politics to play any part in the police.

“I have refused funding because I do not want anyone pulling my strings.”

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Conservative Ken Maddock, who hopes to ensure police money goes further and reduce crime, said there needs to be a focus on preventing the cause of crime.

He said: “We need to prevent it instead of trying to patch it up later and we need better training for officers.”

Candidates were also asked to explain how they would keep a focus on hot spots for crime and make sure all police reserves are not swallowed up by Bristol.

Pete Levy, a Liberal Democrat and former policeman whose priorities include tacking drug-related crime, antisocial behaviour and supporting victims, said: “The commissioner will be the eyes and ears of the public.

“I want to see some form of co-operation so we know when these hot spots will occur.”

Labour member John Savage, who wants to oppose restrictions to front line policing and build on the success of neighbourhood policing, also told the crowd more support needs to be given to the victims of domestic abuse.

He said: “This has not been taken seriously enough. This is about education and a robbery of freedom of individuals.”

Election will take place on Thursday and the successful candidate will take up the role from November 22 for the next four years.

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