By Anthony Carroll
Saturday, October 27, 2012
People in Waveney will get their chance to meet and quiz the four people vying to become Suffolk’s first police and crime commissioner at two hustings events in Lowestoft next month.
The four candidates are standing in a landmark election on Thursday, November 15 – with the victor set to take the new £70,000-a-year post, which will replace the Suffolk Police Authority, and with it secure wide-ranging powers to set policing policy in the county.
On Tuesday, November 6 the four candidates – UKIP county councillor for South Lowestoft Bill Mountford, Conservative Tim Passmore, Labour candidate Jane Basham and independent David Cocks – are due to take part in a series of events designed to raise the public’s awareness of and interest in the election.
Between 12.30pm and 1.30pm, the candidates are due to take part in a “meet and greet session” in the town centre before they head to two hustings events, described by organisers as “elector’s forums”.
The first hustings event is at Stella Maris Hall in Gordon Road and this will be followed by one at the Seagull Theatre in Morton Road, Pakefield, in the evening.
The police and crime commissioner day has been organised by Andrew Shepherd and Chris Brooks, from south Lowestoft.
They decided to arrange the event as they both felt many people in Waveney did not know enough about the election and the four people standing – despite the importance and power of the new role at stake.
Mr Shepherd, 67, who used to a Liberal councillor in Waveney, said: “I doubt there are more than 10 people in Lowestoft who would know who all four of the candidates are.
“There has been no detail about the elections whatsover and nobody knows any of the candidates.
“As a democrat I believe everyone should have the opportunity to vote. That is the reason for doing this – to make people aware.”
Mr Mountford, who lives in Carlton Colville, has been county councillor for the Lowestoft South division since 2009.
He was the last of the four candidates to enter the race.
Explaining why he put himself forward for election, he said: “I had not planned to stand, but the UKIP member who was considering standing had to pull out and I agreed to put my name forward.
“My main concern is to get more police out in the communities and on the beat. I would like to see more officers with a visible presence.”
●The first hustings on Tuesday, November 6 starts at the Stella Maris Hall at 2.45pm, with the doors opening at 2.15pm. The second one at the Seagull Theatre starts at 6.45pm with informal discussions before the elector’s forum at 7.30pm. The doors are due to open at 6.30pm.
People should hand any questions they wish to ask the commissioners to the chairman of the elector’s forum before the hustings starts.