Rivals go head-to-head in race to be Leicestershire’s first police tsar
The people who hope to become Leicestershire’s first police commissioner will be quizzed at a series of election hustings.
Community organisations, business associations, faith groups and trade unions have signalled their intention to invite the candidates to a series of question-and-answer sessions.
The people behind the meetings, which are still in the planning stages, hope to generate public interest in the election, which will take place on November 15.
So far, three people have been confirmed as candidates in Leicestershireand Rutland.
The Conservatives have chosen recently retired Air Chief Marshall Sir Clive Loader, a parish councillor in Wing, Rutland, while the Labour Party has selected Leicester’s assistant mayor Sarah Russell.
Leicester community worker and businessman Suleman Nagdi has also told the Leicester Mercury he intends to stand as an independent.
Leicestershire Chamber of Commerce is one of the business organisations which intends to bring the candidates together.
Martin Traynor, the chamber’s chief executive, said: “We are planning to hold an event at De Montfort University in October, when all the nominations are in.
“I think there has been a real re-engagement with local politics since we had the mayoral election in the city.”
Voluntary Action Leicestershire, (VAL) is planning an event. it is running a project called Safer Future Communities, (SFN), which aims to ensure police commissioner candidates take account of the voluntary sector.
Helen Oparinde, VAL’s SFC network coordinator, said: “Some of our community organisations deliver services day-in, day-out, for the victims of crime, whose voices need to be heard in the run-up to the elections.
“We have commitment from the candidates for a voluntary sector husting in the autumn and hope other candidates and voluntary organisations will come and engage.”
The police commissioners will replace the existing police authorities which have traditionally set police budgets, appointed senior officers and scrutinised force performance.
The Home Office believes commissioners will be more accountable to the public because they are elected, whereas police authority members include appointed councillors, magistrates and independents. The candidates said they were keen for the electioneering to begin.
Councillor Russell, who represents the city’s Westcotes ward, said: “A good number of organisations have contacted the candidates to tell us they would like us to attend an election hustings.
“That is a healthy start.”
Mr Nagdi said: “These hustings will be a good opportunity to sit down alongside the other candidates so we can display our strengths and weaknesses in an amicable atmosphere.”
The Mercury could not reach Sir Clive for a comment yesterday.