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Tory police commissioner hopefuls square off

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On November 15 for the first time ever a ballot will take place to elect the role for each force area in England and Wales outside London.
The Commissioner for Thames Valley will be accountable for how crime is tackled in the force area and “give a voice to the public”, according to the Home Office, which is championing the roles.
It is the biggest shake-up of policing in England and Wales for almost 50 years and will signal the demise of police authorities which were established in 1964 to hold chief constables to account.
There will also be a police and crime panel to help oversee the work of the commissioner and hold them to account, made up of local councillors and two independent members of the public.
The panel will provide an independent challenge and support the commissioner in their role and promote openness in the transaction of police business.
West Berkshire’s Conservative party has nominated the West Berkshire Council executive member for community safety Anthony Stansfeld (Kintbury) to stand for the role in Thames Valley.
Mr Stansfeld, born in Newbury, took over as chairman of the performance committee of the Thames Valley Police last year and under his watch the overall crime rate dropped by 15 per cent.
In order to become the Conservative candidate Mr Stansfeld must better the leader of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead Council, David Burbage, over three hustings debates.
Barrister Tim Starkey is the Labour choice for Thames Valley, having jumped ship from the Liberal Democrats in 2010 in protest to what he called “broken promises” from the party when it joined with the Conservatives to form the Coalition Government.
In 2010 he stood as the Liberal Democrat candidate for Chesham and Amersham.
It is not too late for independent candidates to stand for the position, the final cut-off date for nominations is not until October, and almost anyone who has not been convicted of a criminal offence and is registered can stand.
Everyone registered to vote in the Thames Valley force area can cast a ballot.
The next election will take place in May 2016 and every subsequent four years.
The final Conservative party hustings for the Thames Valley Commissioner is to be held tonight (Friday) at the Gateway Lecture Theatre in High Wycombe, starting at 7.30pm.
Panel members will serve from autumn 2012 for a four-year term.
To apply see www.buckscc.gov.uk/scrutiny or telephone (01296) 383610.
The closing date for applications is July 13.

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