Ministers fear 'embarrassing flop' in election for police chiefs

Home Secretary demands more money from Treasury to attract better candidates

Plans for elected police commissioners were in "disarray" last night after it emerged that Theresa May had asked the Treasury for money to fund an advertising campaign to encourage stronger candidates to come forward.

The Home Secretary's move reflects growing alarm among ministers that the contests for 41 new local police chiefs will be an embarrassing flop with dismal turn-outs in November's elections.

Their hopes that a series of well-known non-political figures would bid for the posts have not materialised and the elections look set to be fought out between unremarkable party stalwarts, including former ministers and MPs.

Mrs May's move is a final attempt to raise the profile of the elections before nominations close in early October.

One Whitehall source admitted: "The policy is in disarray. There is a chance it will be a damp squib."

There is also dismay that Mrs May has refused to impose a limit on how much the political parties can spend in national campaigns promoting their slate of candidates.

Lynne Featherstone, the Liberal Democrat Equalities Minister at the Home Office, is understood to have complained that this would give Tory candidates an advantage over independents.

The Government has also decided not to give candidates a freepost allowance for campaign flyers, which could also put independents at a disadvantage. Fears about the attraction to the voters of having elected police chiefs have been heightened by the recent rejection of residents of nine cities of plans for elected mayors.

The new commissioners will have the power to set budgets and to hire and fire chief constables, but will not to intervene in operational matters.

They will step into the new posts – which carry a salary of between £65,000 and £100,000 – at a time of upheaval for the police service which faces cuts to staffing because of the Government's austerity drive.

Police authorities, which have had the powers to hold chief constables to account since 1964, are being scrapped. Simon Weston, the Falklands War hero, last week withdrew from the contest to become commissioner for South Wales, saying he had "become disillusioned by the fact it was getting too political and not serving the people".

Colonel Tim Collins, the Iraq war veteran, whose candidacy in Kent was trumpeted by Mrs May at the last Tory conference, has also pulled out.

Labour now has a complete slate of candidates for the 41 posts in England and Wales, including many prominent figures within the party.

They include the former Deputy Prime Minister Lord Prescott (Humberside), the former Welsh First Minister Alun Michael (South Wales) and the former chairman of the Parliamentary Labour Party Tony Lloyd (Greater Manchester).

The Conservatives have so far selected 16. Most are councillors or local activists, although the former Northern Ireland minister Michael Mates is standing for the party in Hampshire.

The Liberal Democrats are leaving to their local parties whether to put up candidates or support independents.

The candidates

Lord Prescott (Lab)

The former Deputy Prime Minister narrowly won the Labour nomination for Humberside. He was a Hull MP for 41 years

Craig Mackinlay (Con)

A councillor in Medway, he is standing in Kent. Previously the deputy leader of UKIP, he joined the Tories in 2005

Vera Baird (Lab)

The former Solicitor General lost her Redcar seat after a 22 per cent swing to the Liberal Democrats. She is standing in Northumbria

Michael Mates (Con)

The former minister who resigned from the Government over his links to the fugitive Asil Nadir is standing in Hampshire at the age of 78

Jane Kennedy (Lab)

She beat another former minister, Peter Kilfoyle, for the nomination for Merseyside

Life and Style
Customers can get their caffeine fix on the move
food + drink
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Mosul dam was retaken with the help of the US
voicesRobert Fisk: Barack Obama is following the jihadists’ script
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Arts and Entertainment
Loaded weapon: drugs have surprise side effects for Scarlett Johansson in Luc Besson’s ‘Lucy’
filmReview: Lucy, Luc Besson's complex thriller
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie T plays live in 2007 before going on hiatus from 2010
arts + entsSinger-songwriter will perform on the Festival Republic Stage
Life and Style
food + drinkThese simple recipes will have you refreshed within minutes
Jermain Defoe got loads of custard
peoplePamela Anderson rejects ice bucket challenge because of ALS experiments on animals
Arts and Entertainment
tvExecutive says content is not 'without any purpose'
A cleaner prepares the red carpet for the opening night during the 59th International Cannes Film Festival May 17, 2006 in Cannes, France.
newsPowerful vacuum cleaners to be banned under EU regulations
newsChester Zoo have revealed their newest members
sportLeague Managers' Association had described Malky Mackay texts as 'friendly banter'
The video, titled 'A Message to America', was released a day after Islamic State, an al Qaeda offshoot that has overrun large parts of Iraq, threatened to attack Americans 'in any place'. U.S. officials said they were working to determine the video's authenticity
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
tvSpielberg involved in bringing his 2002 film to the small screen
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Data Insight Manager - Marketing

£32000 - £35000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based o...

Internal Communications Advisor - SW London

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Communications Advisor - SW...

Data Insight Manager

£40000 - £43000 Per Annum plus company bonus: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - IT

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: Computer Futures has been est...

Day In a Page

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape