Surrey police commissioner candidates revealed by political parties
CANDIDATES from all three major political parties vying to become Surrey's first directly-elected police commissioner have been revealed.
The Liberal Democrats nomination was announced on Monday, as Nick O'Shea, a former district councillor from Dorking.
He joins Tory pick Julie Iles, and the Labour contender Robert Evans. A former soldier from Merstham, Paul Clarke, has also put his hat in the ring.
But a former Reigate and Banstead police inspector Mike Ledwidge, who had toyed with the idea of standing as an independent, told the Mirror it is "impossible" for a non-political candidate to succeed without the campaign-running "machinery" and expertise of a political party.
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Mr Ledwidge said the appointment of the Police and Crime Commissioner would inevitably politicise the police.
He added: "Chief inspectors were autonomous, they were able to turn around to politicians and say 'go away this is none of your business', and that independence was an essential part of policing."
The public of Surrey, like those everywhere else in the country, will go to the polls on November 15, to vote for who they want as the first directly-elected police and crime commissioner, a £70,000 per year post that will replace the 17-man Surrey Police Authority.
The commissioner will oversee the work of the police and hold the chief constable to account.
Both Mr O'Shea and Mrs Iles refuted claims they could become puppets for the Government, and said the new set-up would make the running of the police more transparent to residents.
One of Mr O'Shea's priorities is to increase the number of full police officers on the streets, as opposed to PCSOs.
"A mixture of police officers and PCSOs is important," he said, but added: "Policing is about having police officers on the streets and I believe that, in the past, has not been the focus."
His other priorities are reducing crime and supporting the victims of crime. He said the latter was an area with "huge room for improvement," and measures such as restorative justice should be used more.
Tory candidate Julie Iles, a magistrate who lives near Guildford, said her top priorities were cutting crime and costs, as well as complacency, by raising performance targets. She hinted at a shake-up of CID.
The Green Party believes the post should not be political and has not selected a candidate.
Applicants can put themselves forward until October 19.