By Ed Hill
Sunday, February 26, 2012
Fergus Wilson, who owns hundreds of properties in Kent, says he has the financial skills to steer Kent’s police force in difficult economic times
A man who made a multi-million pound fortune on the property market says he has the financial skills to help run Kent Police.
Fergus Wilson, 63, made his name with his wife Judith building a large portfolio on the buy-to-let market.
The former maths teacher from Maidstone now wants to be elected as the new police commissioner for the county.
He said: “I was concerned about the amount of petty crime that was affecting our properties that was not being cleared up. It may have been low level crime but the police just don’t have the resources.”
Mr Wilson and his wife own hundreds of properties mainly in Ashford and Maidstone.
He said in difficult economic times the main aim of the police commissioner should be to Create a cost effective police force.
He said: “Basically we are in a position where we have to run a police service when we really don’t have enough money to do it.
“Anyone else elected would have exactly the same problem. We have to start making decisions that are more important than just how quickly police answer the phone.”
Mr Wilson, who also owns a number of race horses, said he would have a no nonsense approach to policing.
“I will ask the people of Kent what they want. If people want their money spent in a certain way than that is what we should give them,” he said.
The elections for the new commissioner take place on November 15. The role will replace the current police authority made up of a panel of councillors and lay people.
Like the police authority, the commissioner will have the power to hire and fire the chief constable, manage budgets and set policing priorities.
Mr Wilson was unconcerned about his own lack of experience in policing and admitted he had only just learnt that Ann Barnes was the current chair of the police authority.
He said: “This is not a competition to see who the mastermind of policing in Kent is. I do not need to know every tiny definition of every type of crime.
“The person has to be high profile. Most people don’t know who the chief constable is or the chair of the police authority.”
Another hotly tipped candidate is Tim Collins. The former army colonel, who made his name during the war in Iraq, has the backing of the Conservative Party leadership but angered police unions recently when he said the job only needed to be part time.
Mr Wilson said he had a number of ideas that would save money when it came to policing such as using more Special constables and cutting back on vehicle costs.
He said: “This is a paper clip war about how thinly you can spread a budget before policing becomes non effective.”
His other ideas for raising money may not be welcomed by Kent drivers. He gave an example of an officer who had been posted near his former home at his request to catch speeding drivers.
He said: “He got £900 worth of fines. They then said they did not have the resources to do it again. That does not seem very business like to me. Speeding is a revenue earner.”
Despite his own brushes with the law (two speeding fines and one for using a mobile phone while driving) the property landlord said he was still very pro police and was ready to tackle the challenges.
He said: “Business is something I am pretty good at and a lot of people like my straight talking. I am not someone who believes in a lot of chat. I don’t just want to be a police commissioner in name only. If I am elected I will be straight round to the nearest police station.”