Meet the men who want to run our police

The founder of the English Defence League, two tainted politicians, a campaigner for the protection of motorists and an MEP who thinks a woman's place is in the home

Paul Peachey,Jonathan Brown
Thursday 18 October 2012 00:00

A group of fading politicians, a clutch of right-wing extremists, local party grandees and a dwindling band of tenacious independents. These could become some of the most powerful figures in policing after David Cameron's rallying call for "pioneers, community leaders and people with experience" to front the most radical reforms for 50 years.

The final list of candidates will be confirmed tomorrow for the jobs of police and crime commissioners (PCCs) in 41 police forces in England and Wales commanding salaries of up to £100,000 and tasked with holding chief constables to account. The final list is likely to be overwhelmingly male and include nearly 20 former police officers.

Pollsters predicted yesterday that the elections on 15 November will see a turnout of less than 20 per cent, giving single-issue candidates and representatives of extremist groups a greater chance of election.

Katie Ghose, chief executive of the Electoral Reform Society, said: "The government claims Police and Crime Commissioners will give people a say over how our streets are policed, but from the start these elections have looked like an experiment in how low the Home Office can drive turnout. Put simply, if less than one in five of us go out and vote, this makes a mockery of the elected PCCs' ability to speak for us."

Election line-up: The would-be commissioners

Michael Mates

Former Northern Ireland minister, who was forced to resign from the John Major government in 1993 over his links to the now jailed tycoon Asil Nadir. Mr Mates has faced criticism from within his own party and had only lukewarm support from the Prime Minister over his decision to challenge for the post of commissioner in Hampshire.

The 78-year-old gave evidence in defence of the disgraced property magnate at his Old Bailey trial, which ended in August with Nadir being given a 10-year sentence for stealing £29m. The pair's relationship made headlines nearly two decades ago when it emerged Mr Mates had given him a watch inscribed with the message "don't let the buggers get you down."

Mr Mates has also faced questions over a £40,000 windfall from the owners of his former Dolphin Square flat in London. The rent had previously been paid through Parliamentary allowances. Mr Mates, who left the Commons in 2010, has denied any wrongdoing and has offered to comply with any ruling on the matter by the parliamentary authorities.

Kevin Carroll

Co-founder with his cousin Tommy Robinson of the far-right English Defence League (EDL). Mr Carroll is campaigning in Bedfordshire on behalf of the British Freedom Party. Street demonstrations by the EDL, formed in Luton in 2009 in response to Islamist protests there, have been characterised by violent clashes with anti-fascists in towns and cities where there are high ethnic-minority populations.

Policing the demonstrations has tied up hundreds of officers and cost millions of pounds, critics claim. Last summer the Home Secretary, Teresa May, banned a planned EDL march through five London boroughs following the riots because the Metropolitan Police feared it could spark violence.

In 2009 Mr Carroll was convicted of a public order offence for hurling abuse at Muslims protesters at a soldiers' homecoming parade through Luton. In an email to supporters he said: "There should be no special favours for minority groups, criminals should feel equal force of the law – British law, not Sharia Law or any other kind of alien law."

Robin Tilbrook

Founder member and chairman of the English Democrats. Mr Tilbrook is one of six members of the anti-immigration party standing at next month's elections. The party's manifesto promises "good old-fashioned English common sense policies" which will "purge" police forces of "political correctness" and put an end to the "excessive harassment of motorists".

Among the policies is a scheme to allow businesses to hire their own private armies of security staff who would be given the same powers of arrest as special constables. The English Democrats most high-profile success so far is Peter Davies, who has been the directly elected Mayor of Doncaster since 2009.

Mr Tilbrook, a solicitor who is contesting the position for commissioner of Essex Police, has previously criticised the spending of public money on gay pride marches.

Godfrey Bloom

The outspoken UKIP MEP for Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire could pose the biggest threat to John Prescott on Humberside. His views have outraged feminists. He once claimed to have visited brothels while working in Hong Kong and suggested that he represents Yorkshire women who "always have dinner on the table when you get home". He has previously clashed with fellow MEPs and was ejected from the chamber after aiming a Nazi slogan at a German parliamentarian.

Meanwhile, his views on law and order remain equally forthright. Mr Bloom is a vehement supporter of the death penalty and has pledged to reduce the number of speed cameras, which he has accused of being little more than a "money making scam". He has called for tougher sentences and an end to police policy on hate crimes.

Paddy Tipping

One of seven former Labour MPs to stand in next month's elections. Mr Tipping resigned his Sherwood seat at the last election after paying back £14,000 in mortgage interest payments on his London flat at the height of the MPs' expenses scandal. It emerged he had increased the loan to fund the refurbishment of the property.

Although the payments were approved by the parliamentary authorities the former junior minister apologised and said he "felt bad" about the claim. It was also revealed that the member of the Standards & Privileges Committee had a £50 claim for "dog minding" rejected. He stood down after suffering a heart attack in 2009. The official Labour candidate in Nottinghamshire warned the commissioner that the elections face being a "disaster" because of a lack of public interest.

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