Monday, 30 November 2015

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David Cameron in crime commissioner visit to Carlisle

Prime Minister David Cameron was due in Carlisle today ahead of elections to choose Cumbria’s first police and crime commissioner.

David Cameron photo
David Cameron

Details of his visit are being kept under wraps for security reasons. But Mr Cameron was expected to meet the Conservative police commissioner candidate, Richard Rhodes, and the city’s Tory MP John Stevenson.

Downing Street hopes that the publicity surrounding the Prime Minister’s visit will ignite public interest in the elections next Thursday. Pundits are predicting a low turnout in Cumbria and elsewhere, possibly below 20 per cent.

A derisory vote would undermine the credibility of commissioners who are set to replace police authorities across England and Wales.

Whoever is chosen will have powers to hire and fire the chief constable.

They will also be able to take charge of policing priorities and set the force budget.

In a statement to The Cumberland News, Mr Cameron called on people to use their vote.

He said: “You might be thinking – why should I bother? Why should I care?

“If you care about feeling safe as you walk through your neighbourhood, if you care about the streets your children ride their bikes in, if you care about what your town centre’s like at the weekend, you should care about this – because the right candidate can have a big impact on all these things.

“There will be one local law-and-order champion whose name and reputation is on the line.

“Someone working constantly with the knowledge that if they don’t do a good job, if they don’t give you the tough, no-nonsense policing you want, then they’ll be kicked out of the job.”

Mr Cameron urged voters to support Mr Rhodes. He described the retired headteacher, former magistrate and former chairman of Cumbria Probation Board as a “fantastic local candidate” dedicated to public service.

Mr Rhodes is favourite to win because the Conservatives amassed substantially more votes than other parties across Cumbria at the 2010 General Election and at the 2009 county council poll.

His challengers are Labour’s Patrick Leonard, Liberal Democrat Pru Jupe and Independent Mary Robinson.

Mr Cameron will be hoping that his visit can act as a lucky omen for the Conservatives.

He last visited Carlisle two days before the 2010 General Election when Mr Stevenson took the Parliamentary seat from Labour to become the city’s first Conservative MP since 1964.


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