Labour unveils its police commissioner candidates
Labour yesterday unveiled its full list of West candidates for the controversial elections for police commissioners in November.
The party opposed the new posts, but now the elections are going ahead, it has chosen its candidates for every police force in England and Wales.
In the West, those selected include a former senior prison governor, a lawyer and a union official, while elsewhere they are headed by ex-Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott.
In Avon & Somerset, candidate Bob Ashford was born in Bristol, but is a member of Somerton & Frome Labour party.
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He worked at the Youth Justice Board for England and Wales for the past decade, rising to director of strategy two years ago, before voluntarily leaving his post in March this year.
Labour South West Regional Director Phil Gaskin said the former town and district councillor, and Parliamentary candidate, had a wealth of experience in the field of crime and justice.
“We look forward to the campaign, and providing voters across the Avon & Somerset Police Authority area with a clear alternative to the Government’s agenda, which hits local communities across Avon & Somerset very hard,” he said.
Wiltshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) candidate is Clare Moody, a senior official for union Unite, which represents police staff.
She said: “Given the cuts to the police force, it is vital that as much money as possible is spent on policing so my priority would be to actively communicate with the communities of Wiltshire through regular meetings, community groups and the local media.”
Solicitor Rupi Dhanda is standing in Gloucestershire, and has specialist knowledge of working with the police, including on family law issues.
The partner in county law firm DF Legal LLP said: “I am deeply concerned at the recent steep increase in crime across our county coinciding with cuts to nearly 200 frontline officers.”
Dorset candidate Rachel Rogers was previously a deputy governor of HMP The Verne, and was recently elected to Weymouth & Portland Borough Council.
“If elected, I would make it a priority to consult effectively and involve local communities in the ongoing battle against crime and the fear of crime,” she said.
Labour’s Devon & Cornwall candidate is Plymouth councillor Nicky Williams, who is completing a degree in social policy and criminology.
Elsewhere a number of senior politicians have been selected, led by Lord Prescott in Yorkshire & the Humber.
Other former Ministers fighting the elections include Alun Michael (South Wales), Jane Kennedy (Merseyside) and Vera Baird (Northumbria).