Police and Crime Commissioner elections - three weeks to go

Three weeks today, on 15th November 2012, there will be an election for Cumbria's first Police and Crime Commissioner who will take over from the present police authority.

There will be a Police and Crime Commissioner elected for each police force area in England and Wales other than London (where equivalent powers were transferred recently from the Home Secretary to the Mayor of London)

These elections are important as it will be the duty of these commissioners to set policing priorities for the area and hold the Chief Constable to account. Police and Crime commissioners will not have operational day-to-day control of the police, which will remain with the Chief Constable, or have the power to tell officers who to arrest: decisions about arrests will remain the preserve of sworn officers.

Any voter in England and Wales outside London who is reading this can find details of the candidates standing in their area as follows:

* There is an official site, http://www.choosemypcc.org.uk/, on which information about all candidates is supposed to be available from tomorrow

* Several similar sites have been set up by people with an interest in policing or democracy in general, such as the  One Team Policing site which gives details of all the candidates who have taken the trouble to submit them, including all four candidates in Cumbria whose details can be found here:

* Another such site is the Police Elections website run by Policy Exchange on which you will find details of the candidates to be PCC for Cumbria  here.

The Conservative candidate to be Police and Crime Commissioner for Cumbria is Richard Rhodes from Cartmel, a recently retired headmaster who had thirty years' experience as a magistrate, most recently in Barrow and is currently chairman of Cumbria Probation Trust.

I am obviously completely prejudiced about this, but I think we were very lucky to find a candidate of Richard's star quality: anyone who meets him will realise that Richard has thought very hard about why he wants to do this job and how he could improve policing in Cumbria if elected.

Richard has a campaign website which you can find here .


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