A former member of the Great Yarmouth Conservative Association who defected to UKIP has launched his campaign to be Norfolk’s first police and crime commissioner with an appeal to younger voters.

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Matthew Smith, aged 24 is one of the youngest candidates taking part in next month’s elections and he is calling for young people to really engage in these elections and, above all, to use their votes.

He said: “One of the biggest and most consistent complaints young people make these days is that ‘nobody understands us’ and this is particularly relevant when we are talking about policing in Norfolk. Well, here is a chance for young people to vote for, and elect, one of their own, who really does understand them. We don’t need another middle-aged suit in this job. We need someone with energy and enthusiasm, not only to make sure that the police work well with young people, but with the population as a whole. My message is: get out there and vote on 15th November. In this election you really can make a difference.”

Mr Smith, from Great Yarmouth, kicked off his campaign yesterday by stating that “other parties have failed us” and highlighting his commitment to local people and local victims as well as his intention to work with young people.

He said: “I’ve lived in Norfolk my entire life. I’ve got a strong interest in Norfolk and making sure it’s safe.”

He wants to reduce crime by working with young people in Norfolk who are Not in Education, Employment or Training (Neet) and trying to tackle issues that arise as a result.

He said: “Where I live in Yarmouth it’s a particular problem. It’s crime as a result of lack of opportunities – today’s young offenders are tomorrow’s long-term criminals.”

Mr Smith also wants to put more police officers on the streets by “reducing bureaucracy” and having more special constables rather than PCSOs “who don’t actually have any powers”.

He said: “This country badly needs a police force that puts the victim’s rights ahead of those of the criminal and is freed from the excesses of paperwork brought about by years of big state regulation.”

As a UKIP candidate Mr Smith’s mandate as police and crime commissioner candidate is to:

Be a member of the community, not just another career politician.

Reconnect the police with people and their local communities.

Have a zero tolerance approach to criminal behaviour – including low-level nuisance and anti-social behaviour.

Have prison sentences that mean what they say, with more effort to prevent repeat offending.

See fewer foreign criminals in our jails and on our streets.

Defend traditional British rights and justice.

Mr Smith, who in May missed out on taking the Gorleston seat in the Great Yarmouth borough elections by 50 votes to Conservative Bert Collins, defected from the Tory party last year – he had been secretary of the Great Yarmouth Conservative Association.

He said he is a prominent campaigner in Yarmouth and an advocate of grassroots campaigning and local democracy.

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