Former MP is back to run for top policing role

A MAN with experience of listening to the views of Leamington and Warwick people is returning to the public to run for the position of Police Commissioner.

James Plaskitt, who was the Labour MP for the area for 12 years until he was defeated in the 2010 election by Conservative Chris White, thinks he is the right person to take on the role for Warwickshire Police.

In November the public will vote for new commissioners, who will replace the current police authorities and have the power to hire and fire chief constables, manage the budget and set policing priorities.

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Mr Plaskitt, who has for the past two years been working in consultancy and writing books, said: “I always felt the governance of policing through police authorities left something to be desired in terms of direct accountability. As I see it, the commissioners will be there to ensure that policing policy and crime-fighting fit with the community’s priorities.

“So in a sense, the commissioner is like a local minister for policing.”

The former MP said he feels the job requires someone with proven experience as a “community representative” and who can manage a large public sector service.

He said: “I have had that experience.

“The job will certainly be challenging. The Coalition Government has already cut funding for policing in Warwickshire and plans to do so again this year, next year, and the year after that.

“As a starting pledge, I would set out to ensure that the commissioner’s office would cost less to run than the current authority, and put the savings into frontline policing.”

He added: “The priorities in the job must be those of Warwickshire residents.

“The commissioner’s job will be first to listen, to assess the local community’s wishes on policing and fighting crime and then work out how to implement them.”

He promised to spend the months leading up to the elections in November listening to what the people of the county would like to see as the priorities of their first police commissioner.