Former Home Secretary adviser Walter Sweeney throws hat in ring for Police Commissioner job
AN ADVISER to the former Home Secretary believes he has "the best credentials" for the £70,000-a-year Police and Crime Commissioner job.
Walter Sweeney, former Conservative MP for Vale of Glamorgan, is standing as an independent candidate in the upcoming Crime Commissioner elections, on November 15.
The solicitor, who practises in Hull, was an adviser to Michael Howard when he was Home Secretary in the last Conservative election.
He famously tabled a Private Members Bill proposing to make it easier for homeowners to defend their properties against burglars by putting the burden of proof onto prosecutors to prove any force used was unreasonable, rather than the current system of owners having to prove that force was reasonable.
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However, the bill was defeated through lack of time – as Private Members Bills often are.
"I am a solicitor so I know how policing is done but I am not a former officer so people can know that my first priority is them, not the police force. That is why I believe that I have the best credentials for the job," said Mr Sweeney.
He sees the job as a chance to "improve the relationship between the police and the public" by "becoming a mouthpiece" for the people.
"It is a phrase banded about too often, but I would be the people's champion," he continued.
"If there is injustice, they will know that I will help overcome it."
Controversially, the solicitor believes that the probation trust is "inadequate" and that more needs to be done to combat re-offending.
"We need to show people that there is an alternative to crime. Offenders need someone to guide them through the system and help them – someone waiting at the prison gates," he added.
Mr Sweeney wants to make savings by using voice recognition systems to type out statements made by criminals and witnesses, saving staff hours currently used to transcribe every tape. He also hopes to save money by sharing certain services with other police forces.
Those hoping to get the £70,000-a-year job in Humberside Police will not become official candidates until they submit their application on Friday, October 19, with voting taking place on Thursday, November 15.
There are currently six men in the running, including candidates from the Conservatives, UKIP, Labour, and independents, with the Liberal Democrats expected to announce their prospective commissioner next week.