The Independent today takes a brief look at some of the candidates running for the post of Police and Crime Commissioner in police constabularies across the UK, ahead of the release of the final list of candidates tomorrow.
From the Independent:
“A group of fading politicians, a clutch of right-wing extremists, local party grandees and a dwindling band of tenacious independents. These could become some of the most powerful figures in policing after David Cameron's rallying call for "pioneers, community leaders and people with experience" to front the most radical reforms for 50 years.
“The final list of candidates will be confirmed tomorrow for the jobs of police and crime commissioners (PCCs) in 41 police forces in England and Wales commanding salaries of up to £100,000 and tasked with holding chief constables to account. The final list is likely to be overwhelmingly male and include nearly 20 former police officers.
“Pollsters predicted yesterday that the elections on 15 November will see a turnout of less than 20 per cent, giving single-issue candidates and representatives of extremist groups a greater chance of election.
“Katie Ghose, chief executive of the Electoral Reform Society, said: " if less than one in five of us go out and vote, this makes a mockery of the elected PCCs' ability to speak for us."
Below are a few of the Independent’s profiles of some of the far-right PCC candidates:
Co-founder with his cousin Tommy Robinson of the far-right English Defence League (EDL). Mr Carroll is campaigning in Bedfordshire on behalf of the British Freedom Party. Street demonstrations by the EDL, formed in Luton in 2009 in response to Islamist protests there, have been characterised by violent clashes with anti-fascists in towns and cities where there are high ethnic-minority populations.
Policing the demonstrations has tied up hundreds of officers and cost millions of pounds, critics claim. Last summer the Home Secretary, Teresa May, banned a planned EDL march through five London boroughs following the riots because the Metropolitan Police feared it could spark violence.
In 2009 Mr Carroll was convicted of a public order offence for hurling abuse at Muslims protesters at a soldiers' homecoming parade through Luton. In an email to supporters he said: "There should be no special favours for minority groups, criminals should feel equal force of the law – British law, not Sharia Law or any other kind of alien law."
Founder member and chairman of the English Democrats. Mr Tilbrook is one of six members of the anti-immigration party standing at next month's elections. The party's manifesto promises "good old-fashioned English common sense policies" which will "purge" police forces of "political correctness" and put an end to the "excessive harassment of motorists".
Among the policies is a scheme to allow businesses to hire their own private armies of security staff who would be given the same powers of arrest as special constables. The English Democrats most high-profile success so far is Peter Davies, who has been the directly elected Mayor of Doncaster since 2009.
Mr Tilbrook, a solicitor who is contesting the position for commissioner of Essex Police, has previously criticised the spending of public money on gay pride marches.
The outspoken UKIP MEP for Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire could pose the biggest threat to John Prescott on Humberside. His views have outraged feminists. He once claimed to have visited brothels while working in Hong Kong and suggested that he represents Yorkshire women who "always have dinner on the table when you get home". He has previously clashed with fellow MEPs and was ejected from the chamber after aiming a Nazi slogan at a German parliamentarian.
Meanwhile, his views on law and order remain equally forthright. Mr Bloom is a vehement supporter of the death penalty and…He has called for tougher sentences and an end to police policy on hate crimes.
The voting system used in the upcoming PCC elections (see this video) is the same as is used in the London Mayoral elections, whereby voters state their first and second preference candidates. Though some argue that this system is more democratic that the first past the post system used in the British general elections and local council elections, others contend that it also gives fringe parties including extremist parties a better chance at getting into power. An example of this are the gains made by the BNP at the European parliament elections in 2009 when they won two seats, which was also partially a result of the closed party list system used which awards seats on the basis of vote share, similar to proportional representation. Combined with a low voter turnout, this risk may be even greater depending on those preferences of those who come out to vote.
You can keep up to date on the PCC elections on ENGAGE’s dedicated website, www.getoutandvote.info
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