Candidates’ battling over ideas for police

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THE candidates for Warwickshire Police Commissioner continue to trade blows over policy.

Elections for the £65,000-a-year post take place on November 15, and so far three candidates have stepped forward, independent Ron Ball, Conservative Fraser Pithie and Labour’s James Plaskitt. Meanwhile, Warwickshire Community and Voluntary Action (CAVA) has been commissioned to co-ordinate the Safer Future Communities Network in Warwickshire, which will see increase community and voluntary groups’ role in county policing. A meeting has been arranged for voluntary sector organisations on Thursday October 25 between 10.30am and 3pm at Ivor Preece Centre, Rugby Road, Binley Woods.

This week Mr Ball has publicly invited his Labour and Conservative counterparts to a meeting to discuss the transition issues that could arise when the police authority disappears after they turned down a private invitation.

He said: “Amongst the questions that need clarification are where will the commissioner’s office be? Can any assurances be given to existing police authority employees? If we as candidates can identify areas where we are in agreement then progress can be made and some assurances given.”

Mr Plaskitt has announced a new five-point plan called Victims First, where individual crime investigations can be tracked online, antisocial behaviour is easier to report, a greater emphasis on tackling ‘hate crimes’, independent advisors for the victims of sexual violence and long-term contracts for voluntary sector providers.

Mr Plaskitt said: “I believe these five measures will improve victims’ experience of the police. Victims do not ask to enter the criminal justice system. But once they do, their interests must come first.”

Mr Pithie has pledged to press for the availability of custody facilities at Rugby Police Station at least for busier periods.

He said: “It’s no picnic for Rugby police officers to spend as much as 50 minutes getting to Nuneaton via the M6, especially if that’s conveying a violent prisoner. If elected I will revisit a sensible proposal put forward by the Rugby Community Safety Partnership several months ago that would have provided a temporary custody facility at Rugby for several hours.”

The winning candidate will set policing priorities and budgets and have the power to appoint and sack chief constables.