Light shed on Warwickshire Police Commissioner candidates’ ‘blackout’ policies

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Labour’s candidate for police commissioner has accused both his rivals of toeing the official Conservative party line on plans to switch off street lights overnight.

James Plaskitt has condemned the Tory-run county council for the proposal, under which many lamps will be extinguished for part of the night come February in an effort to save money.

Citing police advice that drivers should avoid parking where there is little or no light, Mr Plaskitt said: “With over 500 incidents of theft from vehicles in Rugby last year, the police advice is common sense. But how can we follow it if the lights are going off?

“I’m amazed that both the other candidates are toeing the Conservative line and backing the switch-off.”

Responding to Mr Plaskitt’s claims, Ron Ball, who is standing for election as an Independent, said: “An accurate description of my position concerning the turning off of street lights is that I would rather see it trialled than for vital services to be cut or for more people to lose their jobs.

“It’s an easily reversible decision.

“I’m forced to ask the question whether how things are to be paid for ever enters James Plaskitt’s head?”

Conservative candidate Fraser Pithie said: “Theft takes place in all areas including those where there is street lighting.

“Equally, there are many communities across Warwickshire that choose not to have street lights and crime is not experienced or reported as higher as a result. I was born, and grew up in a Warwickshire village that to this day does not have street lights, Welford on Avon. I chaired its parish council for five years and cannot remember one issue ever arising where it was suggested the village needed lights because of crime.

“I will keep an open mind but I will not alarm people and raise the fear of crime doing so.”

n See next week’s Advertiser for full details of the November 15 election and the candidates standing. Letters: page 10.