Former television journalist Alan Hardwick was voted in as Lincolnshire’s first Police and Crime Commissioner last week.
The independent candidate narrowly saw off David Bowles in the second round to earn the post.
The Journal caught up with Mr Hardwick this week to discuss his plans for the future of policing in the county.
Q) What attracted you to the role of Police and Crime Commissioner?
A)Working for the Police Authority I had seen how policing in Lincolnshire was being penalised by the Government. We were not being treated fairly which piqued my interest. I began looking at the funding formula the Government used to work out how much money forces are given and when I managed to, shall we say, weave my way through the Government gobbledegook I was astounded and appalled at the way in which the wording actually mitigated against rural forces and areas. That’s what set me off thinking that if there’s anything I can do to try to redress that, I should try and do it. Since I live in Lincolnshire and love the county I felt it was my duty to stand for election where I would have influence.
Q)So, is securing increased funding for the county a priority of yours?
A)Absolutely. My main priority is to communicate with the people of Lincolnshire so that they will be able to tell me their own policing priorities. I know from meeting many thousands of people in Lincolnshire over the years that only by asking people at local level about their problems and their suggestions can you be prepared to target the resources you have.
Hand-in-hand with that, I intend to pursue the Government in any way that I can to redress what I believe is an injustice to this entire county. I will start by trying to have returned the Special Rural Grant that was worth £1.8 million a year to Lincolnshire. The money was supposed to help with the problems of rural policing. The money has gone but the problem remains and that is grossly unfair.
Q)Do you think running as an independent helped in this election?
A)I’m delighted that the people of Lincolnshire saw through the Government’s plan of politicising policing and elected me, an independent. Policing and politics do not mix. I said that throughout my campaign.
Q)Given the low turnout for the election, do you think all Police and Crime Commissioners across the country begin their new roles with something to prove?
A)I think all commissioners have something to prove. It’s new and we have to prove that commissioners and the very idea of commissioners will work. As far as the turnout is concerned, it was inevitable the way the Government has rigged this election that there would be a low turnout. No-one is happy with a low turnout but nonetheless I have a mandate to do the job and I will represent the entire population of Lincolnshire.
Are you pleased with Mr Hardwick’s priorities or do you have some of your own? E-mail us at: email@example.com