police & crime commissioner

Essex Police & Crime Commissioner election results 2016


Essex Police

First Round

Roger Hirst (CON) – 110,858 (33.5%)

Bob Spink (UKIP) – 80,832 (24.4%)

Chris Vince (LAB) – 65,325 (19.7%)

Martin Terry (ZTP-EC) – 43,128 (13.0%)

Kevin McNamara (LD) – 30,804 (9.3%)

Second Round

Roger Hirst (CON) – 25,090 (Total – 135,948)

Bob Spink (UKIP) – 22,960 (Total – 103,792)

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PCC Elections – Vote Vince


chris vince

This is a guest post, written by Labour candidate for Essex Police & Crime Commissioner, Chris Vince. As such, the views and opinions expressed may differ radically from your blogger’s own. Some of them may even make sense…

Read on…

Full list of Essex Police & Crime Commissioner candidates 2016


Essex Police

Disclaimer: Your blogger’s views on Police & Crime Commissioners are unchanged from 2012. They are a waste of time and money, politicise the police (regardless of whether you vote for a party or an independent candidate), and have so few powers as to be useless in any meaningful way. However, elections are decided by those who turn out to vote, and by not voting you are only increasing the volume of the voices of others.

Along with the close of local election nominations, nominations have also closed for Essex Police & Crime Commissioner candidates.  The incumbent, Nick Alston, is not seeking re-election, so whoever wins on 5th May there will be a new Commissioner.

Meet the candidates…

GUEST BLOG: A word from Chris Vince, Labour’s PCC candidate for Essex


chris vince

This is a guest post, written by Chris Vince, Labour’s candidate for Essex Police & Crime Commissioner in the May 2016 election. As such, the views and opinions expressed may differ radically from your blogger’s own. Some of them may even make sense…

Read on…

Are Labour abolishing democratic selections by the back door?


labour ballot

This is not the blog I wanted to be writing today, 77 days until the elections — for local councils and Police & Crime Commissioners.

I have to preface this by saying that I am very happy that Chris Vince has been selected as the Labour candidate for Essex Police & Crime Commissioner. Having met him and campaigned alongside him, I think he’ll be an excellent candidate.

I also still regard Police & Crime Commissioner as a ridiculous non-role, a waste of money and an unnecessary politicisation of the police, a sorry abuse of democracy to paper over wave after wave of cuts to police forces up and down the country by a Conservative government. I’d abolish the damn lot of them if I could.

However, I can’t. So we fight the election.

The process by which Labour has selected its candidates, though — regardless of whether it ended up with the right candidates — has been woeful.

Read on…

Will the last copper out of Southend please turn off the lights?


Essex Police

So the declining size of Essex Police cannot have passed by anyone who lives in the county, or certainly not in Southend. Round after round of vicious cuts has hollowed out the numbers of frontline officers, PCSOs and support staff, leaving those few with a thanklessly difficult job.

Time and again we are reassured that there is no impact on the service provided, and that policing is as robust as ever, but even a five year old can figure out that if you keep taking and taking away from policing resources then it will be impossible to maintain the same standard of service (Might be one to remember, for the near future -Ed).

A particularly potent example reaches your blogger’s ears of anti-social behaviour in a residential Westcliff street one night last week. Persons of ill-repute were apparently knocking the wing mirrors off parked cars, and when residents called the police, they were unable to help because no cars were available.

In other news, the Essex police precept is going up in 2016/17, and Police & Crime Commissioner elections are on 5th May.

Introducing Martin Terry, supercop!


robo terry

Martin Terry, the Independent Party Group councillor for Thorpe ward and portfolio holder for Public Protection, Waste & Transport, has announced his intention to stand for the position of Police & Crime Commissioner for Essex.

I tried to think of something witty or funny to preface it with, but there really is just that. Cllr Terry wants to be the next Police & Crime Commissioner.

Good grief.

Read on…

Go and vote for your Police Commissioner!


The day is here. November 15th, the polling day for the Police and Crime Commissioner elections. And it is essential, absolutely imperative, that you go out and use your vote today.

A lot of people aren’t keen on this role at all. I, actually, am one of them. I’d rather that we weren’t politicising the police forces of England and Wales, and spending a fortune in order to do it. However, not voting won’t stop that from happening, and it won’t lead to a positive situation.

Tomorrow we will have a Police Commissioner, even if only 1% of the registered electorate vote. In many cases, a low turnout will allow someone not at all right for the job to win. The opportunity that you have today is to vote for whoever you feel would be best for the role of the candidates before you.

I’ve already declared how I will be voting. My first preference will be Tim Starkey (Lab) and my second preference John Howson (Lib Dem). I’d urge, naturally, everyone to vote for Tim because he’d make a great Police Commissioner, and would focus on keeping policing numbers and standards up in the Thames Valley, rather than just enacting Tory cuts.

If you haven’t managed to see his leaflet yet (and I know that’s a lot of people — Thames Valley is big, and although I and others have been working hard, we’re a long way off covering the whole area), then here you are you lucky people!

But whatever you do, whoever you vote for, do go out and vote!

The Man Who Would Be Police Commissioner


Today is the last day before the polling stations open for the election of Police and Crime Commissioners across England and Wales, and in the Thames Valley there are still serious issues surrounding the Conservative Party candidate Anthony Stansfeld.

I’ve written much already about the West Berkshire councillor, who seems to think that the post is his by right, and voiced my concern about him on a number of fronts. Those concerns have only multiplied during the election campaign. Having declared who I intend to vote for, I said of Cllr Stansfeld earlier this week that he has a cavalier attitude to transparency”.

Other bloggers have done the hard work on this matter, so I really can’t take the credit. In fact, most of it is due to Jon Harvey — a man who Cllr Stansfeld accused me of being briefed by, but who I have unfortunately not spoken to since the Labour hustings. Jon presents two questions in particular about disparities in Cllr Stansfeld’s interest declarations (the background to which can be read here):

Why did Cllr Stansfeld declare ‘ELS’ on his Thames Valley Police Authority register of interests but an entirely different company (FIDAS) on his West Berkshire Council declaration?

Why has mention of him being “Chairman of a small company that has interests in water systems for agriculture and energy recovery systems for industry” now slipped off later CVs and his campaign newspaper?

These questions remain unanswered, and were brusquely and rather rudely shrugged off when I confronted him with them at the hustings in Finchampstead last month.

Additionally, this is a man who claims the primary reason for introducing PCCs is because the Police Authorities were not fit for purpose. Cllr Stansfeld is a member of…erm…Thames Valley Police Authority. Indeed, a prominent claim made in his campaign literature has been that he “introduced neighbourhood policing”. As an interesting point, this is what former Thames Valley Chief Constable Peter Neyroud had to say about it:

I introduced Neighbourhood Policing into Thames Valley, with the full support of the Police Authority. Mr Stansfield was never a member of the Police Authority when I was Chief… the Tories ran a consistent knocking campaign against Neighbourhood Policing until it became clear that NP and the PCSO’s, who were introduced to support them, was a winning idea with voters

Very interesting.

Finally, for anyone still wondering about my claims of Cllr Stansfeld’s attitude to transparency, it’s worth noting these tweets from Channel 4 News’ political correspondent Michael Crick yesterday:

The end result of Mr Crick’s investigation is rather alarming, considering that this man wants to control the police after Thursday. I’d suggest watching the whole thing:

That’s the fifteenth attempt we’ve made in the last two days to contact Mr Stansfeld or one of his campaign team. I did briefly manage to speak to him at home this morning, and he said he’d ring back and tell me what he was doing today. He didn’t.

What is it that Anthony Stansfeld has to hide? Why doesn’t he want to speak to a reporter from a major news organisation, mere days before the election? Is it his financial interests? His dubious claims? Or maybe his utter lack of policies (apart, of course, from a car and chauffeur for the new Commissioner)?

There is something deeply suspicious going on here. In a matter of days, the winner of this election will be in control of the Thames Valley Police, and its budget of some £380 million. As John F. Kennedy asked voters in 1960 about Richard Nixon, “Would you buy a used car from this man?

Who I’m voting for as Thames Valley PCC


The Police and Crime Commissioner elections are upon us at last, and now in the absence of Jim Gordon on the slate (more’s the pity) we must decide who we’re going to vote for.

I’ve already made up my mind. In fact, I decided in the aftermath of the public debate in Finchampstead. So to help anyone who us still undecided, I’m going to share my choices and the reasoning behind them.

Just as a note: PCCs will be elected by a supplementary vote system, meaning you can vote for a first and second preference (if no candidate achieves 50% of first preferences, all the top two go through to the next stage, and the second preferences of the rest of the candidate’s supporters are distributed). Like many other supporters of AV in 2011, I will be using both votes.

So, in reverse order, my thoughts on each candidate, culminating in the two I’m voting for:

Patience Awe, one of the two independent candidates, was supremely unimpressive, and has been so throughout the campaign. She has systematically failed to give any reason to vote for her, barring her IT experience. That is, to me, not sufficient reason to warrant giving her my vote, and I do not feel policing would be safe in her hands. I will not be voting for Patience.

Geoffrey Howard is the other independent, and although he has a very long CV, he has also been less than impressive. His primary selling point seems to be that he is a magistrate (both laudable and relevant) and that he is an independent candidate. But Mr Howard has left off that he has previously been a member of three political parties, and aside from rhetoric seems to have few ideas for the role. At the Finchampstead debate, he did not contribute beyond an opening statement – I’m not sure how that fits with his pledge to “make the role accountable to the public”. I will not be voting for Geoffrey.

(This is a shame. I do not believe that the PCC role should be party political, and thus to have no independent candidates of merit is another nail in the coffin of the policy)

Anthony Stansfeld, as regular readers of my blog will know, is the Conservative Party candidate. He has a very impressive business and army CV, and has served on the Police Authority — even if his claims about his achievements in that position feel a bit far-fetched. I don’t agree with his politics, though I know there are many who will, but for me it’s his cavalier attitude to transparency that is most troubling. Questions still remain over his declared interests, which he has repeatedly failed to clear up despite opportunities to do so. I will not be voting for Anthony.

Barry Cooper, the UKIP candidate, is the surprising and alarming entry at third place on my rundown. First off, I disagree with UKIP’s reactionary and diversive politics more even than the Conservatives. But Barry did present himself as at least having some clue what the role would entail and what he’d do with it. He was articulate and confident, and in the end it is only his politics and his views on police armament which put me off. I will not be voting for Barry.

John Howson is the Liberal Democrat candidate. Many other Labour supporters (as well as independent voters) have been aghast at the idea of voting for a Lib Dem after all the damage that they’re doing in government. I find it a touch distasteful too, but I have two votes and that’s two opportunities to deny the role to a right-wing candidate who would pursue policies I disagree with intensely. At Finchampstead, John was imaginative, confident and exuded the kind of competence I believe essential to this role. I will be giving my second preference to John.

Which leaves only the Labour candidate, Tim Starkey. I know that most readers will be entirely unsurprised at my support for him, but truthfully he has it because he has convinced me that he is the best man for the job. I don’t like the idea of PCCs, and had one of them been best for the job I would have had no qualms about voting for an independent. But Tim has the experience of the justice system and victims of crime necessary to make the best of this role, and has shown that he has the policy ideas to improve policing in the Thames Valley. In particular, he has been the only one to focus on lesser noticed crimes like domestic violence. I will be giving my first preference to Tim.

So there you have it. Whether you’re surprised or not, those are my choices and the reasons behind them. I urge voters in the Thames Valley to use the final few days before the vote to read up on the candidates, and put questions to them if possible. Above all, I urge all of you to go out and vote on Thursday. Like it or not, Police and Crime Commissioners are happening. Abstention is only abdication of your choice and responsibility.