Liberal County Councillor to stand for Thames Valley police and crime commissioner role
Elections are due to take place in May
by Noor Qurashi, Local Democracy Reporter
The new candidate for a senior police position wants an end to “playing culture wars” around “frankly marginal issues”.
Liberal Democrats have put forward Oxfordshire County Councillor Tim Bearder in their bid for the Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner role.
The position is currently filled by Conservative Matthew Barber who’s responsibilities include general oversight of the Thames Valley police force and holding the chief constable to account for delivery of the police and crime plan.
Mr Bearder, who is also cabinet member for adult social care on the council, said: “Speeding and reckless driving is by far the most experienced crime of our residents.
“One of Matthew Barber’s priorities is illegal encampments.
“What he seems to be doing is playing culture wars with these frankly marginal issues.
“They are a diversion from failings in relation to real problems which are actually killing people.”
The Wheatley division councillor added: “I totally accept that rural crime is devastating for the people it affects.”
He cited “camera technology” as a way of improving law enforcement and claimed Mr Barber had displayed a “begrudging” support of average speed cameras on roads.
“Why is he not proactively taking that action?” Mr Bearder said.
Mr Barber responded: “I don’t think there’s a trade-off between rural crime and traffic offences.”
He spoke of a “more than 100 per cent increase in speed enforcement notices” and said there were ongoing efforts to improve CCTV in relation to claims he had displayed a “massive reluctance” towards camera use.
“Road safety is a really important area and I wouldn’t for a moment suggest it shouldn’t be,” he said.
Mr Bearder also stated he intends to make sure policing “aligns with the concerns of residents” and “improve front-line policing”.
“This is a huge responsibility which I don’t take lightly,” he said.
“I would work collaboratively with the chief constable to address issues such as the shortage of detectives.
“The Conservatives have taken the police and crime commissioner role for granted.”
Mr Barber responded: “This couldn’t be further from the truth.
“This role is one I love and one I’m passionate about.”
He referenced a “big drive around neighbourhood policing”.
In relation to cameras, Mr Barber added: “Local authorities also have a part to play, other councils also deploy speed cameras themselves.”
Layla Moran MP, Member of Parliament for Oxford West and Abingdon, said: “With Tim Bearder at the helm, we have the opportunity to elect a passionate community advocate who will champion tough, innovative policing in one of the nation’s largest forces.
“Tim pledges to enhance the visibility, accountability, and responsiveness of policing, to make sure it aligns with the concerns of residents.”
Matthew Barber has confirmed he will remain as the Conservative’s police and crime commissioner candidate.
Tim Starkey is the Labour candidate for the police and crime commissioner role.
An election will take place this year on May 2.
Published: by Banbury FM Newsteam