Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner
The people of Lincolnshire are looking for a Police and Crime Commissioner. The role is a challenging mix of governance, budgeting, commissioning services and more. The successful candidate should have experience in these or related areas and they should demonstrate an interest in Criminal Justice and the services which together work towards preventing crime. The PCC will secure an efficient and effective Police for Lincolnshire, they will appoint (and if necessary, dismiss) the Chief Constable and hold them to account for running the Force. They will set objectives for Lincolnshire in a Police and Crime plan and set the Force budget and precept. They will contribute to the national and international Policing capabilities as set out by the Home Secretary, whilst here in Lincolnshire they will bring together community safety and criminal justice partners to make sure local priorities are effectively addressed As well as this, the successful candidate will have responsibility for reducing crime, commissioning victim’s services and delivering community safety. It is the duty of the PCC to improve the value for money of Lincolnshire Police and to improve the effectiveness of the Force. The people of Lincolnshire expect their PCC to live up to the Nolan Principles at all times and will expect evidence of a clear wish to work in Public Service.
There are four candidates for the post of Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner. We have no ‘independent’ candidate but one each from four Political Parties, Labour, Conservative, UKIP and The Lincolnshire Independent Party. I have made much on social media about judging the individual not the Party, as I believe this the best way to ensure we here in Lincolnshire (and indeed others across the Country) can vote for the best possible candidate to do a good job in this challenging role.
I thought it might be useful if I listed my thoughts on each candidate. You may disagree with me and that’s fine. You must question what you want from a PCC, what the job remit actually is and what you consider to be useful skills for that remit.
Victoria Ayling – UKIP
I am unable to tell you very much about Victoria that isn’t in the public eye already. This is because I have been unable to converse with her at all. I asked her a couple of questions on Twitter, received no reply and then was unceremoniously blocked. I can, from this, tell you that Victoria appears not to like difficult questions. She does not appear to support transparency or see any reason to engage with those who may not agree with her. These are important points for voters to consider. I can only offer you what is available to me regarding Victoria. So there is this http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2653896/UKIP-councillor-accused-racism-send-lot-video-chosen-stand-party-target-seat-Great-Grimsby.html with the film referred to here http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2520012/Send-home-In-shocking-video-UKIP-councillor-key-Farage-ally-launches-astonishing-racist-rant–tells-MoS-I-stand-word.html and this http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3045289/Send-home-Ukip-candidate-s-false-claim-son-blown-Afghanistan.html. Victoria was a member of the Conservative Party and stood as Prospective MP for Grimsby in 2010, losing to Labour. Sometime after this event, she appears to have found her calling with UKIP.
Whatever anyone’s personal Politics, it is unthinkable that our Police and connected services should be run by someone displaying the qualities I have set out above.
Victoria has chosen a running partner who she says will be her Deputy PCC. He is a retired Police Inspector from the Metropolitan Police who tried to be the PCC candidate for the Conservative Party but failed to get through the first stage of their selection process. He also appears to have found a sudden calling to UKIP and has presumably left the Conservative Party, despite his very recent keenness to represent them. Again, I question his suitability in a role which demands high levels of integrity.
So I find Victoria is definitely not the PCC for me.
Daniel Simpson – Lincolnshire Independent Party
Firstly, lets deal with the Independent issue. This is a Political Party. Exactly like all the other Political Parties. It is disingenuous of the members of this Party to tell the Public that a vote for them is a vote to keep Politics out of Policing. It is simply not true. This Party has, in my opinion, behaved in a highly irresponsible way, showing that they do not care about the quality of Policing or the support services around crime in Lincolnshire. This Party was left to scrabble for a candidate at the last minute and the lack of preparation (or indeed suitability) in Daniel Simpson shows clearly. Please do watch this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GciQB280zDc&feature=youtu.be&a to see what I mean. They could have at least put his pre written speech behind the camera for him. Or maybe given him some time to learn what he was talking about. It has the feel of someone reading a foreign language. The words are there but the understanding is absent.
There is a jaunty hashtag, #DanIsTheMan4PCC. Fabulous. Except Dan the Man doesn’t appear to have a Twitter presence at all. I’m not sure what the use of a hashtag is if you are not going to use it on Social Media. Perhaps its another example of Dan not really having a clue what he’s just got himself in to. Daniel owns a Filling Station just outside Louth.
Daniel stood as Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Louth in 2010, where he gained 1.1% of the vote in his home area, where he runs his business. If this doesn’t ring enough alarm bells, there are some supporting YouTube videos from his Party colleagues. One tells the camera her biggest concern re Policing in Lincolnshire. She talks about the withdrawal of Police Officers teaching school children cycling proficiency. I’m not sure when, if ever, Police ran the cycling proficiency scheme but it has been a council scheme for as long as I know. We are never going back to the days of yore, whether they are days from memory or reverie and I can unequivocally say that I do not think that Dan is the man for PCC.
Lucinda Preston – Labour Party
I have not had the pleasure of meeting Lucinda but I have watched her campaign and spoken to a variety of people regarding her. She is a teacher at a high performing Lincolnshire school and seems very dedicated to her pupils and we certainly appear to share some Political viewpoints. She has been campaigning about the County with a couple of hashtags: #notacareerpolitician and #cutcrimenotpolice. As a recent Labour Party member (a rather vocal one at times, but as yet inactive!) I have been continually frustrated by the Party’s seeming lack of ability to have a coherent view on Policing or indeed Criminal Justice. This does not matter when I look at the PCC candidate of course, as I judge each on their suitability for the role. And it is here where I find Lucinda falls short. If she were to become PCC, she cannot begin the job until September, despite the start date being in May. This would leave the people of Lincolnshire without any direction for their Police and set us all at a significant disadvantage on the national stage as there would be no voice to fight our corner or speak up for us. I find this entirely unacceptable and cannot fathom another instance where someone would apply for a job despite having no intention of turning up to actually do that job for 12 or more weeks.
Whilst Lucinda does work in Public Service, her role as a subject leader in a selective school does not prepare her for the harsh world of Criminal Justice and I have seen no evidence to suggest she is making efforts to educate herself in this area. Lucinda does some weekend canvassing but tends to use her Social Media presence to remind us all that she is a teacher first and foremost. A commendable profession, but not an inspiration for voters. She has turned down almost all hustings, saying she is too busy. I find this as bad, if not worse, than not being prepared to start the job on time. If a candidate does not want to make themselves available to the public during an election period, it does not suggest that they will make much effort once in post.
Lucinda appears to have been a Labour Party activist and this is her first foray into standing for a role. I suspect the Labour Party will see more of Lucinda and more Political posts will undoubtedly suit her well. Her adversarial, Party Politics based approach is certainly more suited to local Politics than a role in Policing governance where the Nolan Principles should exclude such behaviour.
Marc Jones – Conservative Party
As with the other candidates, the first thing to deal with is the Party Marc is standing for. The current Conservative Government has not been kind to Public Service. Marc is an elected Councillor for Lincolnshire County Council and will be painfully aware of how hard things are under this Government as Councils have had to make even bigger cuts than Policing and other Public Services. He certainly has up to date experience of having to make hard decisions and weather the inevitable anger from those who have to lose a service or change their expectations. This is most certainly a skill required in today’s Policing governance. It is also of note that Marc is the only Tory to be elected to LCC and this must in itself speak of his residents first approach.
Since I have been watching Marc, he has actively sought to meet with a wide variety of people working within Policing and the umbrella services a PCC should be interested in. I know he has spoken with and visited women’s groups, the National Farmers Union, done a 5am stint with P3.org.uk, PCC panels, business leaders, Council leaders, Police Federation and the Chief Constable. I suspect this list is not exhaustive. I met Marc for myself as my interest in his active, positive approach grew. I found him to be intelligent and empathic, positive and intensely interested in the role of PCC and the good that he might be able to facilitate in such a role. Over and above anything Marc said to me, it was clear that he knew what he didn’t know about Policing and was keen to learn and absorb information from anyone who wanted to discuss things with him. I immediately warmed to this trait.
Marc has put himself forward for a role which, whilst challenging, is a natural progression from his work at the Council where he manages budgets and makes decisions on a big scale. Councils have had to make such huge savings there has been little choice but to make cuts to services. Policing is at a critical point and without more money, the decisions of what not to do are literally on our doorstep. We need to be able to make hard decisions and weather the ensuing storm. Marc certainly has the skills to do this and is the only candidate in this position.
Whilst other candidates have engaged in the kind of Political name calling that turns the public off Politicians in general, Marc has not joined in at all. He is running a clean campaign and is the only candidate to stick to positive output and no smearing of his competitors. This is a quality I would seek in a PCC and is in line with the Nolan Principles.
As a member of the Labour Party, I thought I would simply vote for the Labour candidate but when I actually looked at the candidates and evaluated their worth to Policing and the wider PCC remit, it was clear that I must and will vote for Marc Jones. He is the ONLY candidate capable of doing the job and happily, I believe that he can do the job well! I am well aware of the irony of me supporting a Conservative candidate but I can cope with that, to get someone in to a position where I think they can really make a difference and after all, that’s what Public Service is all about.