Tyne & Wear

Northumbria PCC hopefuls throw hats into ring

Northumbria Police HQ Image copyright Google
Image caption The Northumbria Police area covers Gateshead, Newcastle, Northumberland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside and Sunderland

Four candidates are vying to become the next Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC).

Dame Vera Baird, who has held the post since its inception in 2012, is stepping down after being appointed as the new victims' commissioner.

Polling takes place on 18 July, with the result announced the following day.

PCCs are responsible for scrutinising police forces and holding them to account, hiring and firing chief constables and setting budgets.

The region's first commissioner election was held in November 2012 and the second in May 2016, both of which were won comfortably by the Labour candidate, Dame Vera.

Georgina Hill: Independent

The 41-year-old qualified barrister represents the Berwick East ward on Northumberland Council, and is campaigning under the slogan "no fear, no favour, no politics".

"There is absolutely no place for party politics in policing," she said.

"Not only do police and crime commissioners need to be completely impartial and act independently, without any political interference, but the public needs to be confident that this is the case."

She has vowed to "put crime reduction and justice for all at the heart of everything we do, and not allow political correctness to obstruct the process of justice and the pursuit of criminals".

Ms Hill also pledges to "reverse the short-sighted decision over the opening times of police stations and custody suites".

Kim McGuinness: Labour

Image copyright Simon Greener

The 34-year-old cabinet member for culture, sport and public health on Newcastle City Council, said a Labour PCC was needed "now more than ever to stand up to Tory police cuts".

She said: "The Tories are more concerned with fighting among themselves than making sure our police force have the funds they need to get more cops on the street and keep our communities safe."

There was a pledge to make sure "the police are there when people need them" and put the "voice of victims at the heart of the system", and strengthen local community policing teams.

"The PCC role is to be a people's commissioner, to provide representation from people to the police", she added.

"You don't want an extra chief constable, you want a person who is embedded in the community."

Robbie Moore: Conservative

Image copyright ALIMAC87

The 34-year-old chartered surveyor, who represents Alnwick on Northumberland County Council, has vowed to "ensure that all forms of crime are most definitely taken seriously".

"I am determined to see crime rates significantly reduced and I will be a strong advocate for victims of crime and violence," he said.

He described the role of PCC as "to stand up for the residents and for the electorate to make sure that their police force is delivering a policing strategy that absolutely works for them".

"I am resolute in ensuring young people, vulnerable residents and members of the public that need an extra bit of support are protected from harm," he added.

"I will ensure those members of society are considered at the heart of my policing strategy."

Jonathan Wallace: Lib Dem

The 55-year-old, who is the leader of the Lib Dem opposition group on Gateshead Council, has called for the PCC role to be scrapped describing it as an "expensive failure".

He said: "The Labour PCC's record has been one of declining police numbers, increasing crime rates and a disinclination to be held to account for failure to deliver on her priorities.

"If elected, I will press the government to get rid of PCCs - joint bodies made up of representatives of local councils should take on the functions."

His said his priority if elected to the role would be neighbourhood policing and addressing anti-social behaviour.

He added: "I will refocus policing away from the failed war on drugs users, following the example set in Durham, and will work with councils to declare drug abuse as a public health crisis."

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