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Police head election ‘is descending into party politics’
11:39am Monday 30th July 2012 in Politics
THE RACE to run Hampshire’s police force is descending into party politics , officers have warned.
Voters will choose the county’s first ever Police and Crime Commissioner on November 15. The winner will be paid £80,000 and will have the power to fire chief constable Alex Marshall and set the force’s budget.
But John Apter, of Hampshire Police Federation, warned about the politicisation of the campaign, saying it was vital for candidates to be independent.
He was speaking after Labour leader Ed Miliband said the vote should become a referendum on government cuts.
Launching his party’s candidates with a speech in London, Mr Miliband said: “These elections must be a referendum on the wisdom of decisions which will see at least 15,000 officers lost by 2015.” Hampshire Police is aiming to make cuts worth £48 million by 2015, which will see dozens of officer posts removed.
Mr Apter said he was opposed to the “damaging” cuts but added political speeches should be kept for General Elections.
He said: “This is doing exactly what we said should not happen – it’s politicising the issue, for political gain.
“Our view, very strongly, is that Police and Crime Commissioners should be as independent as they can. I understand that political parties will field candidates, but people should vote for them on their credibility, and whether they would serve the local community, not which party they stand for.”