Police commissioner candidates tackle issues to win your votes

Candidate, David Whitehouse
Candidate, David Whitehouse

With Warwickshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner election looming and current PCC Ron Ball not seeking re-election, we looked at what the candidates declared so far are pledging to win your vote.

Candidates for the upcoming Police and Crime Commissioner election in Warwickshire have spoken about their plans and hopes for the future of policing in hope of securing your votes.

Candidate, Philip Seccombe

Candidate, Philip Seccombe

The vote in May will elect the second commissioner, who will sit for four years and be responsible for “the totality of policing” in the county.

Standing commissioner, Ron Ball will not seek re-election to the post, and two candidates have now come forward ready to try and win your votes.

Standing as an independent candidate is David Whitehouse, a former Warwickshire Police officer who said his skills and experience make him the ideal person to address concerning financial pressures and hold the force to account.

Mr Whitehouse, who lives in Princethorpe, is a former chief superintendent and served with the Warwickshire force for more than 35 years - working across all five boroughs and districts.

He was not only responsible for resource and finance planning, but acted as a key spokesperson for policing issues including dealing with both the public and the media.

He was also part of the team which introduced the safer neighbourhood teams to work with communities and address policing concerns on the ground. Before stepping down from the police force, he worked as head of community safety managing neighbourhood watch, business and rural crime, school safety and anti-social behaviour.

Speaking about his campaign, David said: “Warwickshire Police is an innovative and professional police force with a good reputation, which I hope to build upon should I be elected as police and crime commissioner.

“Financial cuts have been made since I left the force four years ago and the lack of visible policing in our community has been very noticeable.

“This is an area of concern to many people, and one which I would like to improve upon.

“It is with my background and experiences throughout the county that I believe I can fulfil the role of commissioner with knowledge and confidence in my ability to hold the force to account.

“And, when necessary, question issues on behalf of the public of Warwickshire.”

Standing as Conservative candidate is Philip Seccombe who said his top priority if elected would be to improve the force’s reach with a boost to special constables.

Special Constables are voluntary positions within forces but that hold the same powers as regular officers and wear a similar uniform.

They join the beat following a bout of training with many going into full-time employment with the police force after a spell of volunteering.

Mr Seccombe said the aim is to build on the thousands of responsible people in Warwickshire who have “the right qualifications” to fulfil the responsibilities of the role.

And he pledged to make a “gigantic effort” to visit people and community groups across the county to sell the idea of taking on the role.

He said: “Many reliable people volunteer, take school governors for example, and becoming a special constable is no different.

“Volunteering as a special produces a double benefit of boosting the new recruit’s career prospects whilst also saving resource for Warwickshire Police to be invested on the frontline.

“If given the honour of becoming Warwickshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner I will make a gigantic effort to convince county residents with the right qualifications to join the team.

“I will visit towns and villages to talk to community groups, sports teams and churches to name a few and also use media and marketing tools in a recruitment blitz.”

Mr Seccombe has lived and worked in Warwickshire for nearly three decades, spending 25 years in the Territorial Army, reaching the rank of colonel.

He is a chartered surveyor and Stratford district councillor.

He is also the husband of Warwickshire County Council leader Izzi Seccombe.

The vote for Police and Crime Commissioner will take place alongside the local government election on Thursday May 5.

The Labour and Liberal Democrat parties have not yet declared if they will put forward a candidate.