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Meet Thames Valley’s police and crime commissioner candidates

Five candidates have thrown their hat into the ring with the hope of being named the new police and crime commissioner (PCC).

They are Tim Bearder, Russell Douglas Fowler, Ben Holden-Crowther, Tim Starkey and current PCC Matthew David Barber.

Conservative candidate Matthew Barber
Conservative candidate Matthew Barber

All five will be going head to head for the position which acts as a bridge between the police and the public.

They are to be the voice of the public, hold the police to account and ensure the delivery of effective and efficient policing.

The election is being held across the Thames Valley on May 2.

Labour and Cooperative Party's Tim Starkey, picture: @TimLabour
Labour and Cooperative Party's Tim Starkey, picture: @TimLabour

Tim Bearder is the Liberal Democrat candidate and is currently a county councillor for Wheatley. He is the portfolio holder for adult social care.

Mr Bearder has raised concerns with increased response times and drops in convictions which he puts down to Conservative cutbacks and falling short on recruitment goals.

He said: “Communities across the Thames Valley are yearning for substantive change.

Liberal Democrat candidate Tim Bearder, picture: @timbearder
Liberal Democrat candidate Tim Bearder, picture: @timbearder

“The Liberal Democrats are committed to restoring community policing, providing residents the assurance that law enforcement will be present and responsive when needed."

Ben Holden-Crowther is standing as an independent candidate for ‘More Police Officers for Thames Valley’.

He isn’t new to West Berkshire and stood as an independent candidate for Newbury in the 2019 General Election at the age of 19.

Picture: Ben Holden-Crowther
Picture: Ben Holden-Crowther

He said: “I'm very excited to announce that I am standing as your independent candidate for police and crime commissioner for the Thames Valley.”

Tim Starkey, from Chalfont St Giles in Buckinghamshire, is standing on behalf of Labour and Co-operative Party.

On his website, he said: “I have worked for the last 22 years as a barrister, both prosecuting and defending in all types of cases from speeding to murder, from rape to drug importation.

“This range of experience has shown me how all too often the criminal justice system fails people, and what needs to change.”

His concerns are with rebuilding trust in policing and said, from the past few months traveling across the Thames Valley, has found residents are concerned with road safety, the surge in shoplifting and knife crime, among other issues.

Standing as an independent is Russell Douglas Fowler.

And hoping to keep his position is Conservative candidate Matthew David Barber who was elected as PCC in 2021.

He was the serving deputy PCC under former West Berkshire councillor Anthony Stansfeld, who stood down after nine years in the role.

He said: “I'm asking for your support to continue the work to keep Thames Valley safe.

“On Thursday 2nd May you decide who will be your police and crime commissioner.

“The next PCC will be responsible for a budget of over £584m and holding the chief constable to account on your behalf.

“I am the only candidate with a clear plan, building neighbourhood policing, focussing on crime prevention and bringing criminals to justice.”

Mr Barber’s promises are to improve 101 call times, have more visible neighbourhood police officers and more visible local patrols.

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