May 26 2013 Latest news:
By Marijke Cox, Reporter
Sunday, June 17, 2012
Decision expected today
The final hurdle in the race to become the Tory candidate in the upcoming Police and Crime Commissioner election has arrived.
Three candidates whittled down from a list of six hopefuls will go head to head during the final husting in Rochester this weekend following two earlier hustings, one in Tonbridge last week and another in Canterbury on Friday. A decision is expected to be made today (Sunday).
The three hopefuls are Medway councillor and former Ukip leader Craig Mackinlay, ex-police officer Jan Berry, who ran the Police Federation for several years, and European Strategy Advisor to Kent Police Francois Gordon.
The successful candidate will then stand in the election on November 15 against a Labour hopeful – either Ashford councillor Harriet Yeo or Steve Bates, former advisor to Home Secretary John Reid, depending on who the party chooses – and a list of independent candidates.
These include former Mayor of Medway Dai Liyanage; Ken Little, from Whitstable; former Kent police officer Fran Croucher; and property tycoon Fergus Wilson, from Maidstone.
The PCC will replace Kent Police Authority (KPA) and will serve a four-year term, with power to hold the force to account, determine a policing strategy and hire and fire the chief constable.
Tory candidate Cllr Mackinlay said the new directly elected PCC is the right route. “Current oversight of Kent Police is administered by the KPA. It is a well balanced body with committed appointees; but therein is the problem – the majority of members are appointed by the political groups across Kent and Medway councils. The independent members have applied for and have been selected by the body itself – there has been no public involvement in the appointments. “In the administration of £274m of Kent taxpayers’ funds and the setting of a legally enforceable precept, I believe that a directly elected person is the right route to link tax-raising with the public.”
Senior Tory at County Hall Cllr Bryan Sweetland, who missed out on a place in the shortlist after putting himself forward, said the party was fortunate to have three good candidates.
“The task for Conservative members is now to pick one of these three. A difficult task as all could do the job, with varying degrees of competence, skill and effectiveness.
“I will make my mind up after listening to all three potential candidates this weekend
But he questioned the selection process. Writing for KoS this week, he said: “One has to wonder why all Conservative members in Kent were not asked for their opinion from the start.
To read in full turn to p32.
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