GUEST COLUMN: Make sure you cast your vote for our next PCC, by Mark Spencer MP

Sherwood MP Mark Spencer
Sherwood MP Mark Spencer

I’m sure you’ve now had your polling card through the door for this May’s elections.

We don’t have any council elections in Nottinghamshire this year and you might be tempted to not bother with it all, but I’d urge you to find out more about your candidates for Police & Crime Commissioner.

Regardless of whether you agree or disagree with the principle of the PCC, on May 5, somebody will be elected to hold a whole lot of power and control a £200m budget that pays for our security. The PCC has the power to make or break policing in our area and that’s why it’s vital you have your say.

In my view our area hasn’t seen the full benefits of this position in the last four years, as some areas have where their PCC has been more effective than ours. I’d point to Derbyshire where, whilst we have been losing officers, they have been recruiting because they made better financial plans. They budgeted for the future and they have done a better job because of it – and Derbyshire has a Labour PCC so I’m not just saying that out of political bias. I’d point to Staffordshire where the PCC has revolutionised the force by targeting his funds towards getting officers out from behind desks and giving them the technology to take their paperwork with them. They can go out and be visible in the community and do their paperwork on the beat instead of hidden away. We all want to see a visible presence, and in Staffs they are achieving that. Our Labour commissioner has been more focussed on falling out with the Government than on finding solutions to the problems.

There is potential for great benefit to come from having a good commissioner going forward. Tony Harper, a policeman of 36 years experience, is the Conservative candidate and of all the candidates on offer he is the only one with that background that can bring genuine skills and knowledge to the job. Not only that but he’s born and raised here in Hucknall, so he has our community in his heart and he understands the issues we face. Have a look at tonyharper.org.uk to find out more about him.