Candidates vying to be South Yorkshire’s new crime tsar have agreed to sit in the hot seat for a special live grilling - from the very people they will represent.
The election of the region’s new police and crime commissioner, sparked by the resignation of Shaun Wright after the Rotherham scandal, this month is set to be one of the most high-profile of its kind.
Now the four men who want to step into the role will be quizzed in a special debate, hosted by The Star and Sheffield Telegraph and web screened live on the Star’s website on Wednesday, from 7.30pm.
The questions will be put together with the help of our readers, and there is also room for 250 people to sit in the audience of the Pennine Lecture Theatre at Sheffield Hallam University.
Editor James Mitchinson said: “Everything The Star and Sheffield Telegraph is doing in the run-up to this crucial by-election is aimed at enthusing people to have their say, vote for the candidate they want and take responsibility for getting justice for all the victims of the Rotherham scandal.
“This debate is your chance to hear what the candidates have to say so you can decide who to choose, who to trust, to repair the ills of what has gone before.”
Each candidate has prepared 200 words, featured below, on why they want to stand as a preview to the debate.
The event takes place at on Wednesday October 22 and audience members must arrive at 7.15pm.
To book a place, or send in your questions for the candidates, email The Star’s political reporter Ellen Beardmore at firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and contact details or call 01142 767676 ext 3459.
Alternatively, post them to PCC election debate at The Star, York Street, Sheffield, S1 1PU.
The deadline is 5pm on Monday October 20.
The debate will be screened live on www.thestar.co.uk
Today’s other top stories:
WHY WE’RE STANDING - BY THE PCC CANDIDATES
David Allen - English Democrats
“The law should be applied equally, without fear or favour and the public should be secure in the knowledge that vested interest or political correctness will blind its judgement.
All those responsible for the cover up of the child rape gangs in the police, the councils, social services, CPS and the Labour politicians locally and nationally that colluded in perverting the course of justice should be prosecuted for any crime they have committed.
Political correctness should be rooted out of policing. Policing should concentrate on prevention by visible deterrent. Victims’ voices should be heard to ensure that past failures are not repeated. Measurement of police effectiveness by chasing selective targets should stop
I believe that police commissioners should continue to be elected. The establishment parties would rather that control of budgets and accountability should disappear back into the shadows.
If elected I would hold chief constables to account – past and present, would fight for the idea of the police being directly held to account by the public and whose judgement would not be compromised by a vested interest in the police or protecting those whose twisted ideology has caused decent men and women to be unable to do their jobs.”
The Rev Dr Alan Billings - Labour
“We need real change in our police.
They’ve been criticised for the way they dealt with child sexual exploitation, Orgreave and Hillsborough. We need a fresh start, rebuilding confidence in our police by changing behaviour, culture and accountability.
My first priority will be victims of sexual exploitation. They need justice and support. Their abusers must be prosecuted and those who failed them held to account.
We then need to build a police force people trust, with proper accountability, always putting victims first.
So what can I bring?
· Independence. We don’t want a career politician for this job and we can’t have a former South Yorkshire police officer. It is vital our police are objectively held to account, learning lessons, then looking to the future.
· Wide experience. Including membership of the Youth Justice Board which oversees the criminal justice system for under 18s. I have good knowledge of ‘what works’ in reducing crime and anti-social behaviour.
· Bringing communities together. I have spent much of my working life as a vicar building trust in local communities.
· The highest ethical standards. And expect these from others.
I have the experience, knowledge and independence required to help rebuild a police force people can trust.”
Jack Clarkson - UKIP
“My aim if elected is simple - to re-establish and maintain the public’s trust in the uniform I was so proud to wear for over 30 years.
Following recent criticisms that have undermined public confidence and demoralised SYP officers, the people of the county now have the opportunity to seize the initiative and put in place a team that will provide strong leadership and a common sense approach that leaves the old politics behind. This means instilling a new culture, where crimes are investigated without fear or favour This is not just a police issue but one for local government as well
The public need to be able to trust the police to do the right thing and to help them when they need it most, and this is what I will deliver.
To achieve this, I will concentrate on community policing, rollback political interference and correctness and try to cut the paperwork burden. I will encourage more cooperation between agencies and provide more support to front line staff. This will include extra support and protection for whistle blowers in any agency.
I will fight for proper resourcing of services in South Yorkshire and highlight governmental cuts which are so detrimental.”
Ian Walker - Conservative
“I’m standing to be your Police and Crime Commissioner because I believe the people of South Yorkshire deserve better than the past few years.
Born and bred in Sheffield, I’m an engineer and spent most of my working life in South Yorkshire.
I have four children and have always sought to give back to the community. I’m a school governor and was on the board of NHS South Yorkshire where I championed the reduction in health inequalities and gained a reputation for asking probing questions.
I am not tainted by past association with local councils and will bring a new independence to the role of Police and Crime Commissioner.
One of my key aims will be to rebuild trust between the police and our communities, but based on openness and asking tough questions.
If elected, I have a five point action plan, to put in place to make South Yorkshire an even safer place to live, work and raise a family.
It will include standing up for victims of crime and those in fear of crime, working hard to ensure South Yorkshire becomes a safer place where police listen and come down hard on all criminals.”