'I am not an extremist': Police commissioner candidate says
- Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016
A police commissioner candidate wants more cops on the beat, jobs for veterans and has insisted he is not a “right-wing extremist”.
David Moreland is running as an independent candidate for the role of police and crime commissioner (PCC), having previously stood as a UKIP MP in 2019.
In an interview, Mr Moreland insisted he is “not a right-wing extremist” but brought up people’s race unprompted several times.
Before his political career, Mr Moreland served in the armed forces and Metropolitan police, where he broke his back on duty and moved to Norfolk around 17 years ago.
Mr Moreland said he wanted to take on the role because “it’s all changed an awful lot and not for the good.”
He said: “As an ex-CID officer, I've seen what's going on here and across the country - police stations are closing down, the lack of police officers on the streets.
“You've got to ring up 101, but most of the time you're on the phone waiting there for half an hour to get through.
"Things aren't as they should be, or as they used to be, and people are getting more and more angry about it."
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Asked what inspired him to stand, Mr Moreland said: “I know it sounds crazy. When I was 17, I put my hand on the Bible and swore allegiance to my Queen and my country to look after it and that's what I have done all my working life."
Mr Moreland then added that he had gone to school and served in the army with "dozens and dozens of West Indian lads".
"So, when I actually left the army and went into the Met I knew how to deal with West Indian guys, you know, because they weren't violent gangs.
“They were drug gangs but they weren't violent."
Mr Moreland said this meant he knew how to treat them with respect, stressing the importance of having officers on the streets to gain intelligence about criminal activity.
"The amount of information I was given, information that led to arrests. Nowadays there's no one on the streets - it just doesn't happen.”
Adding: "I get really quite angry because of the race of crime in Norfolk or the Eastern Europe... - the gangs that are here now - for instance the drugs coming up into Norfolk from London.
“I get angry when I see policemen hiding behind bushes with a speed camera trying to catch people doing 39mph in a 30 when we’ve got serious crime going on everywhere else.”
Mr Moreland said from speaking to officers they agreed with him, squaring the blame on senior officers.
While Mr Moreland agreed with the government’s policy to increase the number of recruits, he disagreed with where they should come from.
“Boris Johnson is suggesting that 20pc or 40pc of recruitment now should be from black and ethnic minorities, while I'm not in any way, shape or form racist at all, I've said no, that shouldn't be the case.
“We need to be taking on our military veterans because they've got operational experience, the knowledge, they know what they're doing. Number one they would have the respect of the gangs.”
Alongside this, he said he would like to bring back PCSOs and part-time police officers.
Mr Moreland said he disagreed with the political nature of the PCC job, believing it should be run by someone with operational experience - which the opposition does not have.
Asked if he could still rely on his experience having been out of the police for around 20 years, Mr Moreland said things will have changed but he understood the realities of being a policeman.
Voting will take place on May 6 - the same day as county council elections and a number of district councils elections.
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, people have been urged to register for postal votes via their local councils or at www.gov.uk