Lancaster’s highest ranking police officer has said Lancashire Constabulary’s new force commissioner will be “positive” for the force.
Elections are being held across the country on Thursday, November 15, to appoint police and crime commissioners to every force, but former Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair last month spoke out against the concept, urging people not to vote.
Sir Ian said force areas were too large for any one person to look after, but local divisional commander, Chief Supt Richard Bayly, holds a different view.
“Obviously I don’t know who the commissioner will be but they will be involved with us and working with the community and other partners to help keep people safe and reduce crime,” he said.
“I see it as a positive thing. They will be bringing a different perspective and where necessary will challenge us.
“Someone who cares about the community in Lancaster and who will work with us to make Lancaster a better place to live.
“Our roles are clearly laid out in statute so I don’t foresee any threats.
“There are times when it will be challenging but I see them as someone who will build on our success and work alongside us.
“I genuinely think it will be positive for the constabulary.”
Police commissioners will replace existing police authorities in setting the strategic direction of their force and setting its budget.
The authorities are not directly elected, but are made up of local councillors and independent members.
The Government says a directly elected commissioner would be more accountable to the public, but opponents of the idea argue the upheaval is a waste of money.
Ninety-two polling stations will be open from 7am-10pm on the day of the election. The local Lancaster district count, which is being organised by Lancaster City Council. will take place at Salt Ayre Sports Centre the following day.
Results will then be fed through to the main Lancashire count hub in Blackburn before the winner is declared.
Four candidates will be vying for the votes of the Lancashire electorate.
They are existing county councillors Clive Grunshaw (Labour) and Tim Ashton (Conservative), Liberal Democrat Afzal Anwar, a barrister, and UKIP candidate Rob Drobny, a Preesall town councillor.
See next week’s Lancaster Guardian to find out more about the candidates.
For more information about the election visit www.lancspcc.co.uk.