Battle lines are drawn as candidates throw their hats into ring for Cambs Police Commissioner election

THE first election to appoint a Police and Crime Commissioner for Cambridgeshire takes place in November – and the battle lines are already being drawn.

The new commissioner – whose job will be to scrutinise, support and challenge the force’s performance and hold the chief constable to account – will have wide responsibilities, including cutting crime and setting the annual force budget.

So far, five candidates for the job have thrown their hat into the ring, representing the Conservative, English Democrat, Labour and UKIP parties, along with one independent candidate. The Lib Dems have decided not to be involved.

Commanding a salary of about �70,000, the new commissioner will replace the current 17-strong Cambridgeshire Police Authority.

Once they have taken on the job, the new commissioner will have responsibility for hiring – and possibly firing – the chief constable and consulting with victims on policing priorities.

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He or she will not be responsible for running the force but will act as the voice of the local people and hold police to account.

Ruth Rogers, chairman of the soon-to-be-decommissioned Cambridgeshire Police Authority, said: “A low turnout is one of the real concerns. People have never voted on this before. Publicity now is really helpful and will hopefully encourage people to go out and vote.

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“As an authority, we didn’t take a particular stance on it. We felt that there were some advantages and, possibly, some disadvantages as well.

“If you believe in democracy you can’t ignore that this person will be democratically elected.”

• To find out more about the five candidates who have already confirmed they will stand for election, click the Related Links at the top of this page.

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