Six candidates battle it out in debate to become Hampshire’s next police and crime commissioner

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The event was held by St John’s College Politics Society at the school in Grove Road South, Southsea, last night. About 50 people turned up to hear the six candidates speak.

Police and crime commissioner candidates, from left, Richard Adair, Simon Hayes, Don Jerrard, Michael Lane, Robin Price and Steve Watts, with, centre, St John's College head boy David Evans who chaired the hustings Picture: Sarah Standing (160625-3865)

Police and crime commissioner candidates, from left, Richard Adair, Simon Hayes, Don Jerrard, Michael Lane, Robin Price and Steve Watts, with, centre, St John's College head boy David Evans who chaired the hustings Picture: Sarah Standing (160625-3865)

Current PCC Simon Hayes spoke about how he has brought in a ‘business-like’ approach to the force, and how he has introduced technology such as body-worn video cameras.

He also defended his estates strategy, which has seen police stations close, and said that it has saved £3m per year, and a £6m one-off maintenance fee, as well as improving staff morale through moving them to better facilities.

Mr Hayes added: ‘It is important we reduce crime to reduce the demand of the constabulary and take pressure off the criminal justice system. We need to do more, and this is my social change agenda.’

Other candidates such as independent Don Jerrard criticised the cost of the PCC’s office, and vowed to not take a salary if he was elected.

Lib Dem candidate Richard Adair said he would use years of experience as a police officer to fight funding cuts.

Tory candidate Michael Lane, who is a former Royal Navy commodore and a former Gosport borough councillor, said he would use his experience of dealing with big budgets to make ‘people feel safe’.

Retired solicitor Robin Prince, the Labour candidate, criticised the Tory government for cutting police funding and said he was against partnership working, police station closures and cuts to mental health budgets.

Steve Watts, a former assistant chief constable, said he stood for zero-tolerance policing.

Questions from the floor saw people ask whether political parties had any influence on the role, the demand of mental health issues on the police and how each candidate would cope with a diminishing budget.

St John’s College head boy David Evans had the difficult task of chairing the debate.

The 18-year-old said: ‘We had tough questions, and passionate audience members, as well as some strong candidates on the panel.’

What is the election and when will it happen?

SIX candidates are fighting to be the next Police and Crime Commissioner for Hampshire.

The election for the role will be held on Thursday, May 5. It will be the second time a commissioner has been selected, after the role was first created in 2012.

The Police and Crime Commissioner for Hampshire oversees policing, ensuring that Hampshire and the Isle of Wight has an efficient and effective police service.

They also set the police and crime objectives and they are responsible for police funding and setting the council tax precept. The commissioner appoints the chief constable and holds them to account.

The current PCC Simon Hayes (Independent) is once again standing for the post. Also running is Don Jerrard (Independent), Richard Adair (Lib Dem), Michael Lane (Conservative), Robin Price (Labour), Roy Swales (UKIP) and Steve Watts, who stands for zero-tolerance policing and is a former assistant chief constable. For more go to choosemypcc.org.uk.