The Conservative’s police and crime commissioner candidate ramped up his campaign for the role this weekend as he headed out to meet voters with Norwich MP Chloe Smith.

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Jamie Athill, who was selected by the party in July, visited the new YMCA MyPlace self-contained flats on Bethel Street in Norwich, knocked on doors at Mile Cross and met shoppers in the city centre.

Mr Athill is campaigning for the role of Norfolk’s police and crime commissioner which, under the scrutiny of a new police and crime panel, will replace the Police Authority following an election in November and will oversee the work of the constabulary.

While at the YMCA on Saturday morning, he met 23-year-old Reece Warman who moved into one of the charity’s Bethel Street flats two months ago and, thanks to the support of the organisation, has recently secured a job working for Greggs.

Mr Athill said voluntary organisations like the YMCA should play a key part in the preventative work he would like to prioritise if elected.

“Channelling funding into intervention activity saves us all in the long run from dealing with other problems once they start,” he said. “Organisations like this do this work better than the state does. They have an emotional investment in it and huge expertise built up over many years.”

Tim Sweeting, chief executive for YMCA Norfolk, who took Mr Athill on a tour of the Bethell Street building alongside support worker Sue Phillips, said it was right for the commissioner candidates to meet with the voluntary sector groups like the YMCA and their residents.

“The focus has got to be on preventative work,” he said. “It’s got to be on providing things for young people to keep them out of trouble and it’s got to be about engaging positively with young people to find out their views and what they need to stay out of the way of police and others.” Mr Athill said it was now “even Stevens” when it came to people knowing about the role of the police and crime commissioner and that awareness was growing.

Miss Smith said she believed the Conservative was an “excellent candidate” who was working hard to get out in Norfolk to tell people about his plans.

Mr Athill, a former Gresham’s School pupil and army colonel, is set to go up against former Norwich City Council leader Stephen Morphew, who has been selected as the Labour candidate.

Prospective candidates must declare themselves by October.




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