Police cuts blamed for Kent PCC candidate's withdrawal

Fergus Wilson Mr Wilson said he would have been elected without knowing the scale of police cuts

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A Kent businessman has pulled out of November's election to become the county's first directly elected police and crime commissioner (PCC).

Fergus Wilson, who was standing as an independent candidate, blamed cuts in policing for his decision.

The property developer said: "The cuts will mean that effective policing can no longer be delivered in Kent."

A Home office spokesman said: "PCCs will give the public a real say in how their communities are policed."

PCCs will be responsible for setting priorities for their force, overseeing budgets and hiring the chief constable.

'Decimated by cuts'

Mr Wilson said: "What is being done to police forces up and down the country is that which was done to this country's armed forces.

"They are being decimated by cuts.

"There is no point in medicine so strong that it kills the patient."

He said cuts announced at the Conservative Party conference "took Kent Police from being just about sound to being impossible to run effectively".

"If you make an election commitment you must stand by it and it was clear to me that I would be elected without knowing the scale of the cuts coming next year," Mr Wilson said.

"No-one in his right head will stand if he knows government cuts next year will mean that effective policing can no longer be delivered in Kent."

A Home Office spokesman said: "The arrival of police and crime commissioners will be the most significant democratic reform of policing in our lifetime.

"PCCs will give the public a real say in how their communities are policed and will ensure money is spent where it matters most.

"The effectiveness of a police force depends not on overall numbers but on how well it deploys its resources."

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