Next Thursday the people of Lincolnshire will be asked to elect a new Police and Crime Commissioner.
This is a relatively new role which was introduced by the Home Secretary Theresa May four years ago to make the police more accountable to the public they serve. In many parts of the country the Police and Crime Commissioner has acquired a high profile and used it to make policing more accountable to local people and more responsive to their concerns. Unfortunately the first person elected to the post in Lincolnshire cared more about public relations than policing and proceeded to waste hundreds of thousands of pounds on suspending the Chief Constable before being forced to climb down and reinstate him.
We now have a chance to move on from this false start and elect a seasoned businessman, Marc Jones, who is standing for the Conservatives. I urge all the readers of the Journal to vote for Marc Jones for three reasons. In the first place Marc grew up in Lincolnshire and has a deep knowledge of the whole county and the different communities in it. Second, Marc is a committed public servant with experience of overseeing organisations with large budgets and responsibility for a wide range of complex public services. And third, Marc has some excellent ideas about how to restore the reality of visible local policing to our towns and villages. I believe his plan to recruit community constables is the kind of practical step that would go a long way to rebuild a sense of public confidence in our police force and help make people feel safer.
I take particular interest in the role of Police and Crime Commissioner because I was the originator of the idea 15 years ago when I used to run a small outfit set up to devise new ways of reforming public services to make them more responsive to the demands of local people. Next Thursday we need to elect someone who understands the potential of the Police and Crime Commissioner role and has the energy and drive to use it to deliver real benefit to local people. Marc Jones is just the man for this job.