Time to choose first Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire

PUBLISHED: 13:42 07 November 2012 | UPDATED: 14:52 07 November 2012

Prospective Police and Crime Commissioner candidate Christopher Townsend

Prospective Police and Crime Commissioner candidate Christopher Townsend

Archant

THE FIGHT to become the county’s first ever police and crime commissioner is hotting up and in just one month it will be down to the public to chose who will take on the new role.

Currently Hertfordshire Police is scrutinised by a Police Authority which is made of 17 people - nine councillors and eight independent members.

But this is all about to change from next month when this is set to be abolished and one of three candidates will be elected to become the public face of the police force.

The police and crime commissioner (PCC) will have the power to hire and fire the chief constable, set the forces budget and council tax precept, and develop a police and crime plan.

The role, which comes with an annual salary of 75,000, also requires them to hold the chief constable to account, represent the views of the public and work with local partners to reduce crime.

Whoever is selected will be directly accountable to the electorate and have a fixed four-year term in office.

A Police and Crime Panel, made up of local councillors from across the county and independent members of the public, will also oversee the work of the commissioner. They will be able to veto some of their decisions, such as appointing a chief constable.

On Thursday, November 15 polling stations will open and voters will be required to chose two candidates and rank them in order of preference.

The voting system, called the Supplementary Vote, states if a candidate has over 50 per cent of the first preference votes they are elected.

But if no candidate reaches this threshold the top two candidates go forward to a second round and all other candidates are eliminated.

Where a voter has selected a candidate who did not get through as their first choice, if their second choice was for one of the remaining hopefuls these votes are then reallocated.

The winner is the person with the highest combined total of first and second choice votes. And its as simple as that.

Not sure who to vote for yet? Meet your candidates:

Christopher Townsend

- Liberal Democrat

Background: Mr Townsend is a councillor for Dacorum Borough Council and he stood as a parliamentary candidate for South West Herts in 2010.

Pledges: Keeping crime low, giving the force more freedom from political interference, balancing the budget and improving communication between the police and the public.

He said: I think what distinguishes me is I have a real job, I work full-time as a professional in the finance department of a large organisation so I have a lot of real life experience which I can bring particularly to the budget problems.

For me it is that professional experience, together with my experience as a borough councillor and my commitment to put a significant amount of energy and detail into getting the job done.

Sherma Batson MBE

- Labour

Background: Ms Batson is a Stevenage Borough councillor and a former county councillor. She was a member of Herts Police Authority from 2005 to 2009.

Pledges: Fighting against police cuts, having more police visible on the beat, respecting the independence of the chief constable and giving more support to victims of anti-social behaviour.

She said: I am an ordinary person from the streets and I think people can identify with me and I want to do the best for everybody. I am used to being out there and listening to people and I would work very hard to make sure the service that is delivered by the police fits the needs of communities.

It is a very difficult role to take on but I think I have the experience and enthusiasm to do it.

David Lloyd

- Conservative

Background: Mr Lloyd is the current deputy leader of Herts County Council and has just stepped down as chairman of Herts Police Authority.

Pledges: Driving down crime, catching more criminals, putting victims first and freezing council tax.

He said: It is right and proper to have someone who can set a policing plan and hold the chief constable to account but what the real exciting bit is to reduce crime, and if we can reduce crime it will make Hertfordshire a safer place to live and work. I think it is a big role and it needs someone who has got a proven track record to do it. We are at an important stage in policing and I have that experience. I brought real broad experience under my chairmanship, crime is down by 20 per cent and I have frozen council tax.

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