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Police Commissioners follow up

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This article is partially a follow up to the first one written in the last edition of Seren. The overall results of the 41 Policing authorities are as follows; Conservatives (15) Labour (13) Independent (10) and Zero tolerance policing (1). The results do confirm all of the predictions made before the election, that the turnout would struggle to reach 20% in many places and indeed the turnout nationally didn’t reach 20%. The government failed to adequately advertise the PCC elections; it failed to communicate effectively what the PCC’s would do and yet managed to spend a hundred million pounds on this project. The other answer is that people refused to vote on the grounds that they didn’t agree with the policy, so didn’t vote in the hope that if enough people didn’t vote either then a u-turn could be made by the government. In North Wales, the surprising winner was Winston Roddick (independent) over the favourite candidate to win; Tal Michael (Labour) who even brought David Blunket to North Wales to help campaign him l.  A few days before the election, all of the candidates came together to give a Q&A session in partnership with Bangor University Student Union and I was fortunate enough to be there with my notepad and pen. Even though the election has been won and lost, I think it would still be interesting to give a good overall picture on what went on in the session and the things that we can expect from the new PCC.

Richard Hibbs (Independent): He had never stood in an election, he was standing because he had no political allegiance to any party and also the fact that he had no connection with the police outside the normal everyday contact as a member of the public. He believed that there was thirty million in the bank accounts of North Wales and they hadn’t spent enough on policing and he would reinvest all of this money back into crime prevention.

Tal Michael (Labour): He was president of a Students’ Union 22 years ago, he said straight from the off that it was dangerous giving one person a lot of power, the aim of the PCC should be consensus and agreement with the ‘stakeholders’ he was CEO of the North Wales police authority which was dissolved in order to be replaced by the PCC.

Colm Maccabe (Conservative): He is a business owner with his brother, the business has a lot of partnership work with Local Authorities, he is a special constable with North Wales police and then was appointed chief office of the special constables, he really likes the idea of a PCC with the visibility and accountability it gives the Policing authority. He says that it will make every police officer accountable to a higher authority, policing and community is his main focus and he wants new ways of policing to be developed with emphasis on thinking outside of the box.

Winston Roddick (Independent): He says that’s it very important for the North Wales PCC to be from North Wales. Mr Roddick was president of the Law society in his university and vice president of Aberystwyth University. “I reflect the interests of the students because I have a lifelong connection to students” He has had a very long and successful career in the criminal justice system at one point being a judge at Caernarfon Crown court. He’s an independent candidate and warned of shifting power from people to politicians.

Warwick Nicholson (UKIP): He described himself as a very reluctant politician because he feels they have done nothing to help people, he is sponsored by the UK independence party, he started out with an apprenticeship as a joiner then in 1974 he started as a policeman and moved up through the ranks from PC to Inspector. Mr Nicholson isn’t Welsh, he’s from Yorkshire but has roots in the place, he wants to push decision making back to the people and he believes that inertia has taken over the police.

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