THE latest in a series of hustings ahead of the election for police and crime commissioner was hosted by Victim Support on Thursday, October 25.
A packed room at Ashtead Police Memorial Hall challenged the candidates on the issues they would face if they get the job on November 15, in which they will set the strategy and budget for Surrey Police.
The first question was about listening to the victims’ opinions when dealing with crime. The candidates all praised the work of Victim Support Charity and, acknowledging that the police have a statutory duty to listen to the opinions of those affected by crime, all said they would ensure that victims played an important part in the process.
On the issue of police targets, UKIP’s Robert Shatwell said that based on his experience walking the beat he would do away with them, while Liberal Democrat Nick O’Shea argued that targets and statistics fail to recognise the individuality of cases.
Kevin Hurley, an independent, arrived a little late after someone drove into the back of his car but he had time to argue for the merging of forces. He asked why the country needed so many different police forces, each writing the same plan for dealing with the same type of crime.
Conservative candidate Julie Iles said that progress had been made with antisocial behaviour but that people had to be convinced that it was worth reporting in the first place.
As has become a recurrent issue of the campaign, Labour’s Robert Evans argued against the privatisation of police forces whilst independent candidate Peter Williams replied that the recently cancelled study was not about privatisation. In other skirmishes Mr Evans referred to the “failed police authority”, while Mr Williams, chair of the authority, said that detection rates, contrary to other candidates’ claims had improved over the last 18 months.