THE way our police service is managed is about to dramatically change at elections in November.
The Government is about to introduce new Police and Crime Commissioners who will be accountable to voters on how they tackle crime in their area.
Nominations open and close next month but there already two names in the frame for the £70,000 role.
Tim Passmore has been selected as the Conservative candidate while Jane Basham, is standing as the Labour candidate.
Cllr Passmore is leader of Mid Suffolk District Council, former chief executive of tourism body Choose Suffolk, and a self-employed agricultural and rural business consultant.
He backs the idea of a comissioner saying it will bring democracy to a police force which currently manages a £125 million budget, and giving Suffolk people a say over how it ‘customises’ services.
“I’m not someone who slavishly follows the party line. If I have to tell the Government to back off I will happily do so,” Cllr Passmore said.
Both candidates say the challenge is to make sure Suffolk remains one of the safest counties in England on a budget which is expected to be slashed by a further 20 per cent.
And both have spoken of the need to work closely with partners such as the Probation Service, Social Services, to free up police time, reduce crime and make savings.
Ms Basham is the former chief executive of Ipswich and Suffolk Council for Racial Equality, and has worked at a senior level for police.
“I am fundamentally opposed to the level of cuts proposed and the privitisation by stealth of our police forces,” she said.
“I am quite anxious about the resilience of police under the impact of these cuts especially when we have just seen violent robberies in Suffolk go up by 38 per cent.
She will be campaigning in Bury St Edmunds town centre tomorrow while Cllr Passmore launches his campaign in Ipswich, also tomorrow.
Visit www.votetimpassmore.co.uk and http://janebasham.blogspot.co.uk