Gloucestershire Police and Crime Commissioner election hustings
HOLDING a police and crime commissioner election in Gloucestershire now is not a good idea, said two candidates vying for the job.
At a hustings in Tewkesbury's Watson Hall, Martin Surl and Rupi Dhanda admitted they had serious misgivings about the timing of the vote on November 15.
They were responding to a point raised by town councillor John Badham that the role would bring politics more into policing.
Former police superintendent Mr Surl, an independent candidate, said: "I agree. I don't think it was a very wise election to call right now. There's a real danger that if I don't win, a political party will win control of the police."
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Mrs Dhanda, a family lawyer standing for the Labour Party, said it would have cost less taxpayers' money to hold it at the same time as the county council elections in May.
She said: "It could have been restructured but we don't have that choice now."
The other two candidates seemed happier at the election's timing.
Alistair Cameron, a school governors' clerk standing for the Liberal Democrats, said the commissioner would have to take an oath not to bring politics into the job.
Conservative candidate and criminal barrister Victoria Atkins said: "I believe this can be a real force for good."
Watched by an audience of around 100, each candidate was given five minutes to say why they felt they should be elected and then several questions were taken from the floor.
Summing up, Mr Surl said he had the skills to do the best for his county, which he was born in and cared about. Mrs Dhanda encouraged people to vote as she said it was a very important issue. Mr Cameron said he would oppose further cuts and raise the police's share of council tax if necessary.
Mrs Atkins said she wanted to be a voice for the people of the county and use her experience to enable the police to do a better job.
â Martin Surl swore on national television when Today presenter Sarah Montague visited the county. He was told the word "experienced" had been spelled wrongly and the word s**t escaped his lips.