Police Commissioner Elections pcc-banner

Last week we published an in-depth account of the Police and Crime Commissioner debate event held in town – read it here. As reported we had a small surprise for the candidates at the end with each given a Wrexham.com folder with a single page letter containing eight questions.

We invited each candidate to email or post us the replies, which are published today. We also stated that any non replies would be ‘empty chaired’ and any replies would be posted up in full. (This is modelled on our uniquely indepth Wrexham Council Elections coverage where we wrote to all councillors standing – viewable here).

First the ‘empty chairs’ of people who did not reply to the questions, which as you will see below cover local policing priorities, local CCTV, council tax increases, TASERs, turnouts and transparency of the candidates themselves, transparency of their campaigns, plus transparency of the PCC role itself:

NO REPLY: Richard Hibbs (Independent)

NO REPLY: Tal Michael (Welsh Labour)

NO REPLY: Winston Roddick (Independent)

More positively two candidates did take the time to reply, Warwick Nicholson (UKIP) and Colm McCabe (Welsh Conservatives). Their replies, unedited, are below in order of which turned up first:


warwick Wrexham.coms Q&A With North Wales Police Commissioner Candidates

Q1. How will hyperlocal policing priorities be set, on a more local level than North Wales as a whole. Will there be specific local priorities for say Wrexham, or Rhosddu and will councillors have a say in setting those and holding the police to account for their performance against them?

All policing priorities will be set on as local a level as possible having regard to views expressed by local groups including councillors, and the views of the local Community Beat Manager who should be in a good position to know the problems in his area. So, yes it is reasonable to expect that there will be priorities set that are specific to local areas.

Q2. We understand the police contribution to the local CCTV operation is comparatively low however it is increasingly relied upon. Are you able to commit to keeping the CCTV levels in Wrexham at its current state?

I can see no reason at this time, to consider reducing the level of CCTV. Believing as I do that CCTV is a valuable tool I would look favourably on expanding coverage if the cost/benefit comparison is favourable.

Q3. What practical thing(s) will you do to represent the concerns and interests of the people of Wrexham and the surrounding area specifically?

The most practical thing that I can do to represent the concerns and interests of the people in any area is to first find out what they are. I do not pretend to know in great detail all of the concerns in all of the local areas and in order to address that I will consult with local community groups, councillors and police officers as soon as possible after election in order that achievable goals can be set.

Q4. How do you intend to balance the budget – will you be looking to increase the police element of the council tax i. from April ii. in future years?

We will manage with what we have. The police element in the Council Tax is the highest outside London and in a low wage economy like North Wales I do not believe that any increase can be justified. Perhaps the taxpayers may disagree, if they do then a rise is on the way.

Q5. Do you support TASER rollout to all front line officers, and is this a strategic decision for them or an operational one for the Chief Constable?

Having been an operational officer for 31 years I believe that I can speak with the authority of experience when I say that I do not support the rollout of Tasers for all front line officers. Having said that, the decision to rollout or not is an operational matter for the Chief Constable to make. He and the public will of course be made aware of my view.

Q6. What is the minimum turnout that would give you a legitimate mandate to do the job?

Sadly, the turnout in this election is likely to be low, but the candidate elected will have the mandate that the voters choose to give. I recently stood down in a local election because I was returned unopposed and that, so far as I was concerned was no mandate at all. The seven other candidates who were also unopposed had been elected four years earlier and so had some claim to at least have been voted for by someone at some time.

Q7. As a measure of your commitment to public accountability, transparency and integrity, within the next week, will you publish on your campaign websites all the campaign donations you have received from individuals and organisations, your membership of any associations, clubs or societies, and your sources of income? If not, why?

Yes

Q8. Will there be a decrease in transparency following the abolition of the police authority with its public meetings and published papers? How will you ensure decisions are made in public?

All meetings I would hope will be open to the public and I cannot conceive of a PCC meeting to which the press would not be allowed to attend.


colm Wrexham.coms Q&A With North Wales Police Commissioner Candidates

Q1. How will hyperlocal policing priorities be set, on a more local level than North Wales as a whole. Will there be specific local priorities for say Wrexham, or Rhosddu and will councillors have a say in setting those and holding the police to account for their performance against them?

I will work with Community Groups, Social Media, local websites and local elected representatives to ensure local issues are identified and considered in policing. I also believe strongly in identifying community beats where police officers themselves get to know local people and their communities and their needs. As a directly elected Police Crime Commissioner, I will be answerable to every citizen of North Wales.

Q2. We understand the police contribution to the local CCTV operation is comparatively low however it is increasingly relied upon. Are you able to commit to keeping the CCTV levels in Wrexham at its current state?

Information communication technology and CCTV have their place in modern crime prevention and must remain so, but there is no replacement for active Community Police with their ear to the ground.

Q3. What practical thing(s) will you do to represent the concerns and interests of the people of Wrexham and the surrounding area specifically?

Having served in as a Special Constable here in Wrexham, I have seen the challenges, first hand. I am very impressed with the relationships our Neighbourhood Policing Unit have built up with their local communities and will strongly advocate continuing this relationship with our communities and building on it.

Q4. How do you intend to balance the budget – will you be looking to increase the police element of the council tax i. from April ii. in future years?

Our Police precept (The element of council tax which is attributed to Policing) is something which will be within the control of the Police and Crime Commissioner. I will do everything in my power to ensure that this does not increase. As a businessman getting value for money is central to my own business, this is a philosophy that I will also employ as Police Crime Commissioner.

Q5. Do you support TASER rollout to all front line officers, and is this a strategic decision for them or an operational one for the Chief Constable?

This is an operational decision and I fully support the need for the Chief Constable’s independence in taking such decisions.

Q6. What is the minimum turnout that would give you a legitimate mandate to do the job?

The people of Wrexham have an opportunity to vote for a local Police and Crime Commissioner by voting Colm McCabe on the 15th November 2012. This will bring some much needed balance to oversight of policing here in North Wales as North Wales Police and the Police Authority are headquartered in Colwyn Bay.

Q7. As a measure of your commitment to public accountability, transparency and integrity, within the next week, will you publish on your campaign websites all the campaign donations you have received from individuals and organisations, your membership of any associations, clubs or societies, and your sources of income? If not, why?

I am a member of the Conservative Party.

I have personally contributed towards the costs of this campaign. The party has made donations which have been used to print leaflets. I estimate the total cost of my campaign will be less than £5,000.

All of my personal income comes from my own business.

Q8. Will there be a decrease in transparency following the abolition of the police authority with its public meetings and published papers? How will you ensure decisions are made in public?

I believe in the role of Police and Crime Commissioner. One name, one face, clear visibility and democratic accountability. I will make every effort to ensure full transparency, particularly in relation to financial information.

 


NO REPLY: Richard Hibbs (Independent)


NO REPLY: Tal Michael (Welsh Labour)


NO REPLY: Winston Roddick (Independent)


 

Hopefully this is of interest to those who are thinking of voting on November 15th , and if you didnt read our report of the PCC ‘debate’ in town last week you can read it in full here.

UPDATE 11:58pm:
We have had a response from Tal Michael saying “Sorry for not getting this to you sooner – I had in mind that you wanted it today rather than “by today”…“.

The email is timed as being sent at 11:36 PM, and double checking our letter we did specify that we will be publishing our feature today and would ‘empty chair’ any non responses at that point.

Therefore although in an ideal world we would put as much out there for the public to aid their voting decision we have decided not to publish answers in fairness to other candidates. Luckily Wrexham.com never sleeps otherwise we would be picking the email up in the morning – let alone a few minutes to midnight.

To discuss the PCC elections further we have a thread on our forums debating the issue – you can take part by clicking here.