JOHN Smith, the current Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for Avon and Somerset, has announced he will be standing as an independent candidate in the upcoming Police and Crime Commissioner elections on May 6.
John, who lives in Bristol, was previously chief executive of the PCC for eight years.
He said: “My extensive experience of police governance in the region and being a father of three children has only served to reinforce my passion and commitment to local communities and to keeping people safe.
“As an independent, I have no political ties to any party and am the only candidate that can keep the party politics out of policing. I will only make decisions based on what is best for Avon and Somerset residents, and would answer only to them, not to party political bosses in Westminster. The safety of all local residents would be my first and only priority.
“I have played a key role in several significant achievements during my career working with Avon and Somerset Police which is currently ranked one of the top five forces in the country and has achieved an ‘outstanding’ rating for efficiency.
“Avon and Somerset police has also managed to ringfence, prioritise, and protect neighbourhood policing despite significant central government cuts of 30 per cent over the last 10 years – and having one of the biggest funding gaps in the country compared to other major city areas.”
As Deputy PCC, John has also been a key member of the team working to manage policing throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
He added: “Keeping local people safe throughout this unprecedented pandemic has been a huge challenge for all police officers and staff, not to mention the other frontline workers in the NHS and beyond.
“This experience gives me the confidence and knowledge to navigate any future challenges the pandemic throws up and to help the people of Avon and Somerset to recover from COVID feeling safer and more secure than ever.”
If elected, John’s priorities would be:
- Supporting the police to enforce the COVID regulations appropriately so we can get back to living normally as soon as possible
- Tackling knife and drug crime, including ‘County Lines’
- Catching burglars and reducing burglaries
- Combating anti-social behaviour
- Championing Avon and Somerset to become the most inclusive police force in the country
- Improving road safety
- Preventing fraud and cyber-crime
- Addressing rural crime and supporting rural communities
- Working in partnership to address business crime
He added: “My priorities reflect my experience and the many conversations I have had with communities across this diverse area. They cover inner city crime issues that may be most important to residents in Bristol as well as the concerns of people in more rural parts of the area.
“If local residents elect me as their next Police and Crime Commissioner, I will work hard every day to keep them all safe.”
John’s full manifesto can be viewed on https://www.johnsmith4pcc.com/