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Police Commissioner Candidates Speak Out

Najeeb Rehman speaks to three of the candidates, the others fail to reply. Part two of our Police Commissioner series

Published on November 12th 2012.


Police Commissioner Candidates Speak Out

ON THURSDAY November 15 the first ever elections will be held to choose a Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Greater Manchester. The new police commissioner will replace and take on the responsibilities of the existing police authority which currently oversees Greater Manchester Police. The first commissioner will serve a three a half year term and will receive a salary of £100,000 per annum. 

GMP badgeGMP badgeThe UK Police Service is divided into 43 local forces in England and Wales of which 41 are held accountable to the public through police authorities. The current police authority for GMP is chaired by Labour councillor Paul Murphy and is made up of 19 people including councillors, independent members and magistrates. The new arrangements will see an elected PCC supported by a police and crime panel made up of councillors (or mayors) from each local authority within Greater Manchester. 

The PCC should not be confused with the Chief Constable as both have statuary responsibilities separate from each other. The Chief Constable, Sir Peter Fahy, is the most senior officer in the GMP and is responsible for delivering the policies set by the PCC. The responsibilities of the PCC will include the following:

  • Setting the police budget and council tax precept.
  • Setting policing objectives for GMP and publishing police plans.
  • Holding the chief constable to account for the delivery of the force. Appointing, and where necessary dismissing, chief constables.
  • Holding public meetings for the public to discuss their concerns. 

We gave every candidate the opportunity to explain how they would fulfil their responsibilities if elected. The people who responded were Matt Gallagher, the Liberal Democrat candidate, and Michael Winstanley, the Conservative candidate, the others didn't bother. 

Matt GallagherMatt GallagherMATT GALLAGHER – Liberal Democrats 

Gallagher is the only candidate with front line experience as a police office and spent 30 years working for GMP. 

How will you work with reduced police budgets without adversely affecting service quality?

The reduced police budget will be a challenge to the Commissioner, which it is why it is so important to cut waste and inefficiency. My proposed Police Apprenticeship scheme will put bobbies on the beat almost a year earlier than at present, and my plan to recover costs from time-wasting criminals will get more officers back to fighting crime in the community. Cross-charging organisations that use police resources for non-crime related activities will also bring in much needed revenue for crime fighting purposes. Energy Secretary, Ed Davey offered his support if GMP formed a co-operative with neighbouring forces to negotiate cheaper energy supplies. This could save GMP up to £1.3 million annually; money that puts more bobbies on the front line and improves victims services. 

Which crimes will you prioritise during your first year in the job? 

I don’t intend to single out one particular type of crime as a priority. Instead, my priority will be to refocus the police frontline on fighting crime and away from activities that are outside their remit. We must make more officers available to work constantly in the community, working with residents and local organisations to tackle all forms of crime, and I regard anti-social behaviour as crime. By making more police available we can improve on GMP’s Graded Response policy. The words “I’m calling the police!” must have real meaning again. We need a response within 24 minutes, not 24 hours. Victims must come first, which is why I will have the first Assistant Commissioner for Victims, tasked with giving victims a better service. 

Where do you feel the current chief constable, Sir Peter Fahy, needs to improve in his performance and what demands will you make of him? 

The current Chief Constable has had an unenviable task finding budget cuts as the Government tries to repair the economy. Officers join the service to fight crime, and Chiefs are always looking for funding to drive this agenda. Crime in Greater Manchester has been falling in recent years and I want this to continue, but that means finding more dynamic ways of operating as effectively, efficiently and responsively as possible. The Commissioners role is to listen carefully to the people and find out what they want from our police, then work with the Chief Constable on the most effective way to deliver what they want. That is why it is so important that the Commissioner has police experience, and knows what they can deliver. 

Why should the people of Greater Manchester vote for you to be their new police and crime commissioner? 

I would ask the people to vote for me as I am the only candidate with decades of police experience on the front line. I have outlined in my manifesto (available online at www.Matt4PCC.org) what I intend to do as Commissioner, and how I intend to do it. I have promised the people a Commissioners Consultative Committee so that every citizen feels they have a voice in how we are policed, and those who have previously felt that the police don’t represent their views will have their own Assistant Commissioner to fight for them, something my main opponent is implacably opposed to. By the end of this week the people of Greater Manchester WILL have a Police and Crime Commissioner. If they believe a politician is best for the job they will have a number to choose from, or they can give their vote to a proven crime-fighter.

Michael WinstanleyMichael WinstanleyMICHAEL WINSTANLEY – Conservative 

Winstanley is a senior development analyst at St Helens and Knowsley Hospitals NHS Trust and is a former councillor. 

How will you work with reduced police budgets without adversely affecting service quality? 

Whoever is elected into this role of PCC will have to work with less money, anyone who tells the electorate something different is not being honest. This means that with fewer police officers we need to make sure that they spend more time on the front line deterring crime and catching criminals. This can be done by removing the pointless targets imposed by the last Labour government.  The Police will have one target and that will be to cut crime. I will also work with the Chief Constable and front line officers to remove needless bureaucracy and paperwork to help them in their job.

Which crimes will you prioritise during your first year in the job? 

The Police will only have one target and that is to reduce crime and I want to make sure that they focus on that. This will mean that we will make Greater Manchester safer and have fewer victims of crime. But we need to continue the good work on reducing gun and gang related crime that blights certain communities in Greater Manchester. This can only be done by working with the local community and re-establishing confidence with the police. One of my priorities is to crack down on anti social behaviour and to make sure that those who cause misery to innocent people are dealt with swiftly and effectively. 

Where do you feel the current Chief Constable, Sir Peter Fahy, needs to improve in his performance and what demands will you make of him? 

It would be unfair and unprofessional to publicly comment on the performance of the Chief Constable as I have not had the opportunity yet to work with him. The relationship between the PCC and Chief Constable is essential if we are to focus on providing the best possible policing service to the people of Greater Manchester. The biggest challenge that we both face is delivering the Policing Plan which will be driven by the priorities of the people of Greater Manchester. If we can deliver on this and demonstrate results, this will build confidence with the people of Greater Manchester. A good working relationship will be essential to deliver this. 

Why should the people of Greater Manchester vote for you to be their new Police and Crime Commissioner? 

As Police and Crime Commissioner my main aim will be to cut crime across Greater Manchester. I am sick and tired of the thugs and criminals who make the lives of innocent people a misery. That is why I want to crack down on anti social behaviour and so called low level crime. I believe in tough sentences and proper deterrents. I also want to see tougher community sentencing so that justice is also seen to be done. If people want a Police and Crime Commissioner that feels the way they do about law and order then they should support me in this election. I won’t make excuses for criminals I want the full force of the law to be brought upon them. I want to make Greater Manchester safer for law abiding citizens and a place that criminals fear. 

TONY LLOYD - Labour 

Stretford born Lloyd stepped down from being an MP for Manchester Central to stand in these elections. 

How will you work with reduced police budgets without adversely affecting service quality?

The Government decision to cut 20% from the Greater Manchester Police budget is reckless. Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary have said it would be possible to cut 12% from the budget over 4 years without damaging Policing. It is galling that Greater Manchester has been hit harder than other areas. On that basis it is inevitable that the Government bear responsibility for any failure to maintain the downward drive in crime that has taken place in Greater Manchester under the Labour Government. All that said both strong partnerships between all those involved in crime prevention (local councils, drug, alcohol and mental health services as well as partners across the criminal justice service) can still help reduce crime.

Which crimes will you prioritise during your first year in the job?

In terms of crime if you are a victim of any crime that is the most important at the time. In prioritising any given crime the danger is that others are de-prioritised. What is true is that crimes like anti-social behaviour, domestic violence and some types of hate crime are not always given the priority they deserve and do need to be prioritised.

Where do you feel the current chief constable, Sir Peter Fahy, needs to improve in his performance and what demands will you make of him?

The Police and Crime Commissioner will have a relationship with the whole Police force not just the Chief Constable. To start out on the basis of public criticism of the Chief Constable simply prevents the kind of constructive working relationship that is in the interest of the wider public. 

Tony Lloyd makes a point, Lucy Powell and Yvette Cooper look onTony Lloyd makes a point, Lucy Powell and Yvette Cooper look on

The candidates who are running and didn't get round to replying to Manchester Confidential are listed below: 

Roy Warren – Independent 

The magistrate and former professional ice-hockey player is the only independent running. 

Steven Woolfe – UKIP 

Woolfe is the UKIP financial services spokesman and lawyer for an international hedge fund.

THIS is the second of our Commissioner articles. You can read the first here.

GMP's new headquarters in Newton HeathGMP's new headquarters in Newton Heath

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14 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

AnonymousNovember 12th 2012.

Boris pulled out of taking a leading role in London (where the Mayor is the Police Commissioner.) He's handed it over effectively now to someone else. See here.

www.guardian.co.uk/…/boris-johnson-stephen-greenhalgh-police-budget-cuts-london…

There is a video of the meeting as well.

Who you vote for does matter!

AnonymousNovember 12th 2012.

Terrible behaviour in not replying. Tony Lloyd clearly thinks he's got this one all wrapped up as the sheep of Manchester wander aimlessly into the voting booth and put a cross next to another Labour candidate.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Jonathan SchofieldNovember 13th 2012.

The power of the Fourth Estate. Tony Lloyd has now sent his replies and they have been added above.

AnonymousNovember 12th 2012.

Did ManCon know how to reach the candidates?

Incidentally many of the things they promise is not within their powers. eg.

>"I believe in tough sentences and proper deterrents. I also want to see tougher community sentencing so that justice is also seen to be done."<

That's for the prosecutor and the courts

>"GMP’s Graded Response policy. The words “I’m calling the police!” must have real meaning again. We need a response within 24 minutes, not 24 hours."<

This is surely and operational matter for the Chief

>"Victims must come first, which is why I will have the first ASSISTANT COMMISSIONER FOR VICTIMS Victims, with giving victims a better service. "<

Wow they are breeding already. £100k for the boss means that APCCs will come out at £60K + and an office etc, and expenses,. How many Assistants will they need at this level. Salford Civic Centre won't be big enough.

There is also the committee to keep em up to scratch at £6K+ pa per member salary and expenses. The committee will need staff to service it prepare papers (see the London link above) or will they do it on their own to avoid

" needless bureaucracy and paperwork to help them in their job."

2 Responses: Reply To This...
C AnisonNovember 13th 2012.

Oh dear anon, you appear to have made the role of commissioner seem event more useless.

James SpencerNovember 14th 2012.

Thanks for you comment. C Anison. Actually it's the current set up at twice the cost or more. I shall be testing if it has any use after the election.

Poster BoyNovember 12th 2012.

Entwistle and Newsnight will be history on Friday, when all hell breaks loose after these pointless car crash elections.

Most of the electorate do not know the identity of the candidates, there's no leafleting, no attempt by the candidates to engage with the electorate, they appear to have no election budget, no one knows the extent of their powers and therefore their manifestos (even the candidates themselves...), our elected local politicans have joined in with the general apathy and can't be bothered to get involved and it has been left to local media and our public service broadcaster the BBC, to try and get people interested.

There is likely to be the lowest turnout in modern history, and any supposed mandate will be a complete sham.

It's another example of the major parties taking the electorate for granted. Assuming that people will vote according to party allegiance. More jobs, more income and more expenses for tired old Committee Room and Conference has-beens.

And they wonder why people don't vote and have grown tired of the charade of traditional party politics...

AnonymousNovember 12th 2012.

Here is the official version of what police commissioner are supposed to do. (notice there are two pages)

http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/police/pol
ice-crime-commissioners/public/what-is-pcc/role/

The real questions to them should be tell us your position on these points.

AnonymousNovember 12th 2012.

Here's the bit about the committee, @police and Crime' Panels.

www.homeoffice.gov.uk/…/…

Of course they have to be paid and serviced!

AnonymousNovember 12th 2012.

In fact voters need to work though the whole site to be informed. You may decide then not to vote!

www.homeoffice.gov.uk/…/…

the Whalley RangerNovember 13th 2012.

Smoke screen alert.

I am reliably informed that the single biggest issue with impact will be the imminent decision on the extent of part-privatisation of police services. Companies like G4S (remember them?) could be in for a proper all singing all dancing banquet here.

What is the position of each and every candidate with regard to the truly shocking changes that the blindfolded electorate is largely unaware of?

Smoke screen alert.

JohnthebriefNovember 14th 2012.

In an ideal world no "party" candidates would have been allowed. It's a job that cries out for non-partisan independent candidates

2 Responses: Reply To This...
Poster BoyNovember 14th 2012.

Seconded...!

the Whalley RangerNovember 15th 2012.

In a one party state, the commissioner will come from thru' the party. It works in China, it works elsewhere.

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