Tough talking by Tory police commissioner candidate
A BARRISTER seeking to become Gloucestershire's new police commissioner has already "put away" a few criminals.
Speaking at the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham yesterday, Victoria Atkins promised to make Gloucestershire safer while providing value for money if elected to the top crime-fighting job at the polls next month.
She made the committment as she appeared on a panel alongside policing minister Damian Green.
The barrister, who specialises in prosecuting serious and organised crime, said: "I know how the criminal justice system works.
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"I know the effect crime can have on people. I have put a few criminals away in my time."
She told activists the Conservatives were trusted more than any other party on law and order.
Ms Atkins said it was important to recognise the differing needs of the county's residents.
Stressing the need to remember rural areas, she said: "The commissioner has to recognise the different policing needs of rural and urban areas."
She added: "The fear of crime can be as corrosive as crime itself." On the campaigning of her opponents, Ms Atkins claimed: "One of the candidates is scaremongering about the closure of police stations."
But she said the station in question was moving 200 yards up the road to share premises with the local council.
"Their activities have meant I have very proudly signed a clean campaign pledge, promising not to scaremonger or make promises that are easy to make and easier to break."
She had invited other candidates to sign it.
And she added: "I would make Gloucestershire safer. It's on every email and letter I send out.
"I am going to do that by representing Gloucestershire people's views on policing issue to the chief constable. And like any good Tory, I am going to make sure we get value for money whilst we are doing it."
The election is being held on November 15. The commissioner will have the power to hire and fire chief constables and will also set the force's budget and its "strategic direction".
In Gloucestershire, the post is set to fetch a salary of £65,000.