It’s time to vote if you’ve ever whined about police

The scales of justice

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So now we know who wants to take on one of the biggest and most important political jobs in policing.

Seven men are vying to become Hampshire’s next police and crime commissioner.

Whoever wins will wield huge power.

They will be able to hire and fire a chief constable, decide which police units will be funded and be a lynchpin between police, the public and government.

And this is why it’s important more voters turn out than in the last poll in 2012.

Just 15 per cent of the electorate in Hampshire bothered casting a vote.

Perhaps, as it was the first year the position was introduced, it was simply a case of not knowing what the job was about.

But when it is so easy to criticise police officers, and sometimes rightly so, it seems daft to give up an opportunity to directly elect someone who can actually hold the force to account for police actions.

Whoever holds the post would be answerable to the public, not senior police officers, or civil servants and ministers in the Home Office.

Each of the candidates – and among them are former councillors, ex-police officers, managers, a criminologist and lawyers – have something to offer.

Today they’ve individually explained why they think they should be chosen.

And even if you normally choose a candidate based on political parties, they’re all outspoken on the issues, as you will see in the story about attitudes to cannabis.

In less than a month the polls will open on May 5.

This is the same day candidates will be elected as councillors across our borough councils and in Portsmouth – even more reason to head out to the polling station.