Councillor begins his bid to be commisioner

Crystal Collins, left, and Sharon Newell with some of the children by the pond 

Picture: Malcolm Wells (171116-8678)

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A UKIP councillor has kick-started his campaign to become Hampshire and Isle of Wight’s first Police and Crime Commissioner.

Stephen West, who represents Tadley, in Basingstoke, met shoppers in Eastleigh town centre on Saturday, and spoke to them about why he believes he should be chosen for the role and what it will entail.

The Police and Crime Commissioner will be the elected head of Hampshire Constabulary and have the power to hold police officials to account. The change will see police authorities abolished.

Mr West, who chatted with shoppers from 11am until 4pm, started off his political career as a Conservative councillor in 2003 before recently defecting to UKIP.

He said: ‘I have got a background in business and have an understanding of finance which is going to be essential to this new role, because part of it involves dealing with the police force’s budget issues.’

Mr West, who is also a former special constable, added: ‘I am one of only very few politicians in the county who has held a warrant card and had experience of police duties.’

Voters will choose the commissioner in an election on November 15.

n Stephen West is a member of UKIP and not the Conservative party, as reported on Friday.