Police commissioners – the latest hats in the ring
Over the past few months I’ve been keeping my eye on who might be interested in standing for election as police commissioners.
In three areas – Cumbria, Suffolk and Wiltshire – I still can’t find anybody who has publicly declared for the job. Nominations to be considered as a Labour candidate closed on 29 Febraury and the party say about 150 people have applied, which works out at just over four per police area. Labour also claims to have at least one person seeking the post in every area.
Of the 140 names listed below as definitely running, or thinking of doing so, only 25 are women.
Here are my very latest findings.
AVON AND SOMERSET
Bath councillor Lisa Brett is hoping to stand for the Liberal Democrats.
Richard Stay, member of Central Bedfordshire Council expected to try for the Conservative ticket.
Matthew Lee, deputy leader of Peterborough City council, has expressed interest in the Conservative nomination.
Baroness Helen Newlove has been mentioned as possible Conservative candidate. She has told C4News that she has a big report coming out soon, and will think about it after that.
The area’s two independent elected mayors could both be contenders. Stuart Drummond, mayor of Hartlepool, has told me he hasn’t even thought about it yet. A spokesman for Ray Mallon, the mayor of Middlesbrough (and a former police inspector) says it’s 50-50 whether he’ll stand. Under the rules either man could carry on being mayor as well as serve as elected police commissioner.
Middlesbrough councillor Barry Coppinger has confirmed to me that he’s thinking of running for Labour.
No names yet.
The Conservative leader of Derby City Council, Phil Hickson, says he may stand, but would want to do so as an independent. This may be slightly embarrassing, as he once described the creation of the PCC post as “absurd”. Early last year he said policing and politics should not be mixed. “I’m thinking about it,” he told the Derby Evening Telegraph before Christmas, “but I need to think hard about and won’t make any decision until the New Year.”
Steve Spear, a crime expert has been thinking of running as an independent.
DEVON AND CORNWALL
Cornwall councillor Lance Kennedy, a former policeman, has declared for the Conservative nomination.
The Conservative leader of Plymouth City Council, Vivian Pengelly, has also been mooted. When I approached her office in January and asked if she was thinking of running, her assistant told me she “does not have a response to your question at this time”. That rather suggests Pengelly is at least thinking about it.
Angus Campbell, leader of Dorset council says he’s not ruled himself out. Also interested is Nick King, a Bournemouth Conservative councillor.
County council Liberal Democrat leader Janet Dover says she will think of running if asked. “I would have to give it serious consideration.”
Former Chief Constable Jane Stitchbury may stand as an independent.
Bill Dixon, the Labour leader of Darlington Council is running.
The former Deputy Chief Constable of Cleveland Ron Hogg (and before that Assistant Chief Constable of Durham itself) is also interested in running for Labour.
Another name mentioned here is the current independent chairman of the Durham police authority Peter Thompson.
Nick Bourne, the former leader of the Welsh Conservatives who lost his Welsh Assembly seat last year, tells me he’s “thinking” of standing in Dyfed-Powys. “I haven’t ruled it in or out. It’s a possibility.” This would be the Tories’ most promising area in Wales.
John Davies, independent leader of Pembrokeshire council thought to be thinking of running as a Conservative.
Former Conservative minister Rod Richards tells me he’s thinking of standing as an independent but says the probability is “less than half”. (He’s no longer a Conservative Party member).
Plaid Cymru former AM Helen Mary Jones is also mentioned.
Former police chief superintendent Mick Thwaites is running as an independent.
County and district councillor Robert Chambers, former chairman of the police authority, is planning to run for the Conservatives.
Jordan Newell, aged 28, chairman of Colchester Labour Party, and 2010 parliamentary candidate, is running.
Tim Brain, the former Chief Constable of Gloucestershire, has been mentioned as a possible independent candidate there. Brain, who retired in 2010 and is now a university academic in Gloucester, says he has not completely ruled the idea out.
Mark Hawthorne may run as a Conservative, and so may Gloucestershire police authority chairman Rob Garnham.
Former policeman and ACPO official Martin Surl is running as an independent.
This is one of the largest police authorities outside London, so the PCC will be right at the top of the £65,000 to £100,000 pay range. The MP for Manchester Central, Tony Lloyd, has declared he’s trying for the Labour nomination.
The Labour councillor, and former Lord Mayor of Manchester, Afzal Khan, is reported to be considering the job, but has mixed feelings. Khan was previously mooted as a contender for the Oldham East and Saddleworth by-election after Phil Woolas was disqualified as the MP in 2010. But Khan is also said to be considering going for another parliamentary by-election which is expected to arise in a good Labour seat in northern England shortly. Khan has yet to return my calls.
The former Rochdale MP Lorna Fitzsimons is “definitely not running”.
The other possibility is the Labour chairman of the Greater Manchester Police Authority, Paul Murphy, a Manchester councillor for the last 20 years. “I have no comment to make,” was his response when I asked him. “‘I’m concentrating on the job in hand.” Sounds to me like he will run.
Last August, however, the Manchester Evening News quoted Murphy as saying at a public meeting: “A police commissioner for Greater Manchester would have to do the work of 19 people, who I can tell you work very hard anyway. It would be preposterous. It also leaves an incredibly important role open to political policing and I’m sure the public would agree policing is far too important to become embroiled in politics. You can’t have someone who is in charge of the police making decisions with an eye on where his next votes are going to come from.”
Salford councillor Robin Garrido is said to be a possible Conservative.
Stockport councillor Helen Foster-Grimem, who has also stood for the European Parliament, has said he’s interested in running for the Liberal Democrats.
Former drag queen and English Democrat parliamentary candidate Michael Felse plans to run as an independent.
Labour solicitor and former Parliamentary candidate Hamish Sandison wants to run.
Former Welsh Secretary and First Minister Ron Davies is planning to stand, either for Plaid Cymru or as an independent.
Chris Wright, who retired as a police sergeant last year, has declared he’s running – as an independent, it seems.
On the Conservative side, a leading contender is Sean Woodward, the leader of Fareham Council, who has been the lead Tory on the Hampshire Police Authority for the last seven years, a Fareham councillor for 26 years, and a county councillor for seven years.
Two others running for the Conservatives are Donna Jones, deputy group leader on Portsmouth council, who is also a banker and a JP; and Mel Kendal, a cabinet member on Hampshire county council.
Jacqui Rayment, the chair of the Hampshire Police Authority (and its only Labour member) also told me. “I haven’t decided yet.”
David Lloyd, deputy leader Hertfordshire Council, expected to get Conservative nomination, and has even been described on one party website as being the party candidate. He’s also chairman of the Hertfordshire police authority.
The former Deputy Prime Minister Lord (John) Prescott is one of five people bidding for the Labour nomination. The others include Keith Hunter, a former Chief Superintendent of Humberside Police, who told the Hull Daily Mail in January that he’s “champing at the bit to get into the election process”, and the former Labour MP for Brigg and Goole, Ian Cawsey, who was chairman of the Humberside Police Authority from 1993-97, is also standing. “I think I am offering something completely different to the other candidates,” says Cawsey.
It was reported on 13 March that Colin Inglis, the current Lord Mayor of Hull, and former chairman of the Humberside police authority, had not made Labour’s shortlist.
Another contender is Alene Branton, another former chair of the Humberside police authority.
Matthew Grove, an East Riding councilor, is bidding for the Conservative nomination, in an area the Tories would narrowly have won on 2010 election figures.
The retired officer from Iraq, Col Tim Collins was paraded at the Conservative conference as a possible candidate in Kent. But since then he’s kept a strangely low profile. He was reported as wanting to do the job part-time. He told me on 22 February that he had not withdrawn his candidacy.
Harriet Yeo, NEC member, is running for the Labour nomination.
Fran Croucher, a former police officer who was prosecuted and accused of inventing a tale about an assault, but acquitted and then resigned from the force, is thinking of running as independent.
Maidstone businessman Fergus Wilson has declared as an independent.
Ex-Police Federation boss Jan Berry has also been mentioned as a possible contender in Kent.
Four Conservative names have emerged – Sam Chapman (who runs a website which tracks the progress of possible PCC candidates ), Kevin Horkin, Tim Ashton and Geoff Driver.
Another possible contender is Ibrahim Master, who is an independent member of the Lancashire police authority, but may run for Labour.
Deputy county council leader Nick Rushton is trying for the Conservative nomination, and may also soon become leader of the county council, which would make him a powerful figure he he combined both jobs. Other Tory runners are Sir Clive Loader, retired Air Chief Marshall (and local parish councillor), and county councillors Joe Orson and Rosita Page.
For Labour, county councillor Jewel Miah, and city councillors Sundip Meghani and Wayne Naylor are reported as interested.
Also local magistrate and businessman Rick Moore reported to be thinking of standing as in independent.
Lee Rotherham of Taxpayers’ Alliance is seeking the Conservative nomination.
For Labour, two former ministers have declared, Jane Kennedy and Peter Kilfoyle. Also running for Labour is Les Byrom, who defected from the Tories in 2008, having been the leader of sefton council and stood in the Knowsley South and Wirral South by-elections. Liverpool Walton Steve Rotherham has denied any interest.
The Police Foundation reports John Ashton also bidding for Labour. He’s a senior health professional in the north west.
Simon Woodbridge, former leader of Broadland Council, is going for the Conservative nomination. Stephen Bett, the current chairman of the Norfolk Police Authority, has confirmed that he too is interested in being the Tory candidate.
Steve Morphew, who was leader of Norwich City Council 2006-2011, is going for the Labour candidacy.
Territorial Army officer Mike Caseman-Jones is going for Labour nomination.
The Labour leader of Gateshead Council, Mick Henry, has been reported as interested. “He’s not made a decision yet,” his spokesman says.
Other Labour contenders are Henri Murison, John Harrison and Sunderland councillor Tom Foster.
Former Labour Solicitor General and Redcar MP Vera Baird told me “no comment” to the idea that she will run, but she is currently disqualified as she doesn’t live in the area.
Tal Michael, the son of Alun Michael, has announced he’s standing down as chief executive of the North Wales police authority to try for Labour, which might set up a possible Michael family double act in North and South Wales.
Another possible Labour contender is Margaret Hanson, wife of Labour’s Shadow Police Minister David Hanson. She refuses to rule the idea in or out, but hadn’t applied by the time of Labour’s earlier deadline of 17 February.
Elfyn Llwyd, the parliamentary leader of Plaid Cymru, has now told me he’s decided not to go for the job.
Also independent Richard Hibbs, mentioned by Police Foundation.
Labour MEP Linda McAvan denies interest.
Peter Walker, former deputy chief constable, wants to run for Conservatives. Another Conservative, Carl Lees, deputy leader of North Yorkshire County Council and a member of the police authority, is also quoted as being interested.
Former policemen Mike Pannett is thinking of running as an independent. GP Taylor, another former policeman, is also considering it and would want to run for a party, but he hasn’t revealed which one.
Jane Kenyon, chairman of the police authority may also run.
The former Labour minister, and former PPS to Jack Straw, Paddy Tipping, who stood down as an MP in 2010, has declared his candidature.
Nottingham Labour councillor and former Lord Mayor Penny Griggs is running, and county councillor Chris Winterton.
County councillor Bruce Laughton is interested for the Conservatives. He told me that he had filled the forms in, but hadn’t discussed it with his family, and that a big problem is cost. The Tories are asking candidates to raise their own funds, and he isn’t sure if he can raise the necessary £5,000 for the deposit or the estimated £80,000 needed to run a county-wide campaign. Laughton stood unsuccessfully for Parliament in Sherwood in 2005 and Gedling in 2010. The Newark MP Patrick Mercer is the Nottinghamshire Tory head-hunter. Nottinghamshire councillor Mike Quigley, a former leader of Bassetlaw council, has also put himself forward for the Conservatives.
For Labour the former Wales First Secretary (before the job was called First Minister) and Home Office minister Alun Michael confirmed in January that he is running. If he won it would mean a by-election in his seat of Cardiff South and Penarth. That would cost the party at least £100,000, and one of Michael’s parliamentary colleagues therefore expressed the hope he wouldn’t therefore be chosen.
Another Labour possible in South Wales is Rhondda councillor Paul Cannon, a former police inspector who was awarded the Queen’s Police Medal. “I was 30 years a police officer,” he told me. “It’s in my blood, and my father was before me. But now, after eight years in politics, I’ve been able to see it from both sides.”
Falklands veteran Simon Weston standing as independent.
Former South Yorkshire chief constable Med Hughes seeking Labour nomination.
Others mentioned by the Police Foundation – Canon Alan Bilings, Labour councillor Shaun Wright from Rotherham, and Kash Walayat, an independent member of the police authority.
Burslem councillor Joy Garner, a member of the police authority, is reported to be going for the Labour candidacy.
No names yet.
Humfrey Malins has just told me (14 March) that he’s very attracted by the job – the first Conservative former MP, that I’m aware of, to express interest anywhere. Malins has a long background in policing issues, having been a court recorder and was a Conservative front-bench spokesman in opposition. He hasn’t formally applied yet but says ‘it’s “more likely than not” that he’ll do so.
The prominent media commentator, Paul Richards, a former adviser to Hazel Blears, has told me he is going for the Labour nomination. It is not an area Labour is likely to win.
Peter Jones, the Conservative leader of East Sussex, and a member of the police authority, has confirmed to me that he’s putting his name forward. So too is Arun councillor and businessman Paul Dendle.
Independent candidates are Ian Chisnall, a social entrepreneur and Brighton street pastor, and Phillip Jones.
This is a huge area, covering three counties (Oxon, Berks and Bucks), and also David Cameron and Theresa May’s own patch, yet surprisingly no Conservative names have emerged so far as definitely applying. A leading Tory in the area says he knows of five people who are interested, but says these are of varying quality.
One name mentioned elsewhere is the Conservative county councillor Kieron Mallon from Banbury, will run. He’s a member of the police authority. I’ve not managed to talk to him yet.
The former minister James Plaskitt, who was Labour MP for Warwick and Leamington, is running.
I’m told County councillor Izzy Seccombe is a strong contender for the Conservative ticket.
The former MEP Simon Murphy confirms that he is interested in being the candidate for Labour.
Des Parkinson, retired police superintendent from Dyfed-Powys, was reported by the Shropshire Star as wanting the Conservative nomination. He’s a former national secretary of Police Superintendants Association, who helped set up the Sex Offenders Register.
I’m told that other possibles are Adrian Hardman, the Conservative leader of Worcestershire county council, and Keith Barrons the Conservative leader of Shropshire council.
Two definite candidates have come forward: Mike Olley, a former Birmingham Labour councillor (1991-2005) who is chief executive of the Broad Street Business Improvement District.
Also trying for Labour, Wolverhampton councillor Bob Jones, who has a Facebook page ‘Bob Jones for PCC’. Jones is a former chair of the West Midlands Police Authority (1995-2000) (and now chairman of the finance committee). He was also chairman of the National Association of Police Authorities from 2005-09. More interesting, he serves too as Campaigns Officer for CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale. So what are his views on drink-driving? “I think drink is wonderful in a social context,” Jones tells me, “but I would strongly advise against drinking before you operate machinery.” Jones officially launched his campaign in January.
Another possible contender for Labour is Birmingham councillor Yvonne Mosquito, who was previously vice-chair of the West Midlands Police Authority.
Joe Tildesley, former chairman of local Police Federation and parliamentary candidate is running for Conservative nomination.
Birmingham City councillor and barrister Ayoud Khan wants to be the Liberal Democrat candidate.
Wakefield councilor, Mark Burns-Williamson, a member of the police authority (and a former chairman) is reported to be seeking the Labour candidacy.
Former chief constable Keith Hellawell wants to stand as an independent but thinks his chances are slim because he won’t be backed by a political party.
No names yet.
Read all of my blogs on police commissioners.