WHO WILL GET YOUR VOTE TO RUN POLICE? Politicians Dominate Crime Commissioners Elections

Article excerpt

Byline: Sam Dimmer CRIME REPORTER

PEOPLE will be casting their votes tomorrow to determine how their police force is managed over the next four years.

Police and crime commissioners - who have the power to set police budgets, priorities and replace chief constables - will be elected in Warwickshire and the West Midlands.

They replace police authorities - the bodies that were set up to scrutinise the work of the police.

Some candidates have been campaigning on party political lines but the winner will be required to swear an oath of impartiality.

The elections come at a time where both Warwickshire and West Midlands Police are being praised for recordlow crime figures.

The government hopes that police and crime commissioners will bring communities closer to the police, build confidence in the system and restore trust.

They also hope the new role will make the police more accountable.

The role has come in for criticism by some, with Coventry City Council leader John Mutton describing it as "barmy".

The Electoral Reform Society suggests turnout in the elections could be the lowest in British history.

In Warwickshire three candidates are competing for the role.

Independent candidate Ron Ball, an exmagistrate and airline pilot, will run against Conservative Fraser Pithie, a former chairman of Warwickshire Police Authority, and James Plaskitt, who used to be Labour MP for Warwick and Leamington.

Mr Plaskitt has vowed to employ and extra 100 officers in Warwickshire and nearly double the number of special constables, and pledged the interests of victims and witnesses must be put first.

Mr Pithie has also vowed to put victims first and employ more special constables, as well as cutting "needless bureaucracy". He says that officer numbers will not be reduced beyond current levels.

Mr Ball says he will focus on problems with drugs, alcohol, and troubled families.

Like the other candidates he also wants more special constables but also supports For results extending the powers of PCSOs. go In the West Midlands, seven candidates are vying for the new job. …