Voters go to the polls next week to elect their first Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC).
Four candidates are standing in West Yorkshire – Labour’s Mark Burns-Williamson, Geraldine Mary Carter for the Conservatives, independent Cedric Mark Christie and Andrew Clive Glover Marchington, representing the Liberal Democrats.
The election takes place on November 15, and will be repeated every four years.
PCCs are being recruited for each of the 41 police areas in England – excluding London – and Wales, and they will take-up their £100,000-a-year posts on November 22. The current police authorities will be abolished.
The commissioner will be responsible for holding the Chief Constable and police force to account on the public’s behalf, and overseeing how crime is tackled in the county.
He or she will have regular meetings with the public to set police and crime plans, ensuring the force budget is spent on priorities in the area.
By next February, the PCC must have a clear set of budgeted objectives, which can be wholly or in part rejected by the members of a Crime Panel.
The Chief Constable will continue to be responsible for day-to-day operations.
Listed here are a profile of each of the four West Yorkshire candidates.
Mark Burns-Williamson (Labour)
Mark has been a member of the West Yorkshire Police Authority since 1999 and its chairman since 2003.
He also represents the Castleford Central and Glasshoughton Ward on Wakefield City Council, is a member of local voluntary groups and was awarded an OBE for services to the community and policing in this year’s Honours List.
Mark says he has decided to stand because he believes his experience as chairman of the police authority and chairman of the Association of Police Authorities gives him the successful track record at local and national level necessary to undertake such a task. Mark wants to ensure that, as West Yorkshire is one of the biggest police forces in the country, views will be heard at the highest levels.
“I’m convinced I can be a robust advocate,” he said. “It’s a big job and I want to work with various communities throughout West Yorkshire to make sure their concerns are included in policing plans and priorities. It’s really important neighbourhood policing continues to form the bedrock of policing throughout the county.”
Mark said he would work with all the communities and organisations throughout West Yorkshire to ensure their concerns were included in his policing plan.
Key pledges include standing against £100 million Government cuts of about 2,000 police officers and staff in West Yorkshire, keeping police officers and PCSOs on the beat, as well as strong and swift action on anti-social behaviour.
Geraldine Mary Carter (Conservative)
Geraldine is a councillor for the Ryburn ward on Calderdale Council and for the Ripponden ward on Ripponden Parish Council.
She was born in Bridlington but has lived in Halifax & Ripponden from a young age. She married Brian in 1970 and has two daughters.
Geraldine first joined the party in 1964 as a Young Conservative, and has since held all officer positions in Calder Valley Conservative Association.
She has been a Calderdale councillor for the Ryburn ward since she was first elected in 1998, and has held various positions on the local authority, including cabinet member for corporate services in addition to committee, scrutiny panel and working party chairman.
She was also mayor of Calderdale in 2003/4 and deputy mayor in 2007/8.
Gerladine was nominated by Calderdale Council to serve on West Yorkshire Police Authority in 2004, where she was chairman of the human resources committee, special committee and the Calderdale Community Forum, as well as being a member of the Policing Plan Working Party and Partnership Liaison Group. She was also a member of the Association of Police Authorities committees.
Geraldine has also served as a board member of the West Yorkshire Probation Service and specialised in hostels and prisons.
She has represented the Ripponden ward of Ripponden Parish Council since 1989 and was chairman twice.
Her plan for policing includes being tough on crime, supporting victims not criminals, zero tolerance on knife and gun crime, cutting police paperwork and recruiting more special constables
Cedric Mark Christie (Independent)
The only independent candidate, Cedric says he is not a politician – “what you see with me is what you get”.
He served for more than 30 years with the police, reaching the rank of inspector.
Cedric said: “At school in Leeds, I stood up to bullies – my anti-bullying principles are entrenched.
“If criminals break into your house, rob you at knifepoint, assault you, subject you to anti-social behaviour or abuse you on the grounds of difference, then they are personally bullying you.
“When you are a victim, you turn to the police. You want to be treated with respect, listened to, be supported and protected. You ask that your crime is investigated professionally and the perpetrators caught.
“Your police must act with honesty, integrity, fairness, impartiality and within the law. They have a duty to report colleagues’ misconduct.”
Cedric added: “West Yorkshire houses a minority that do not adopt these standards. They are tainted by greed and power. They commit criminal offences, lie, cheat and bully. When challenged, they close ranks. This impropriety goes right to the top of the organisation.
“I know the difference between right and wrong. I never allowed negative traits to influence my behaviour whilst serving you. I would never do so as the first Police and Crime Commissioner.
“I will chase the corrupt and incompetent out of office. They do not deserve your respect. Now is your opportunity to influence the future of policing.”
Andrew Clive Glover Marchington (Liberal Democrats)
Andrew lives in Huddersfield with his wife and two children.
He is a councillor in Huddersfield – he was first elected for Golcar ward on Kirklees Council in 2004 and was subsequently re-elected in 2006 and 2010.
Andrew was on the West Yorkshire Police Authority from 2010 until this year, and chaired a task force in Kirklees that oversaw a reduction in violent crime by 30 per cent.
He helped to set up the Kirklees Safer Stronger Communities Part-nership and chaired it from 2005-6 and 2009-12, chaired the Kirklees Violent Crime Task Group from 2006-12 and says he regularly meets with the police and local people to ensure issues are dealt with.
Andrew says he looks for long-term solutions to crime and anti-social behaviour and not just “quick fixes”.
He supported the development of an award-winning alcohol awareness programme used in schools.
Andrew says his priorities as commissioner would include reducing red tape to protect frontline services and getting more police on the streets, getting police and local communities working together to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour, effective action to protect people from domestic violence and rape, and Payback sentencing to help victims, benefit communities and reduce reoffending.
He says that over many years, he has shown the dedication and commitment necessary to make a real difference and has a strong track record of working with local people, the police, probation and community organisations to prevent and tackle crime.
Andrew is also a preacher in the Methodist Church.