Police and Crime Commissioner candidates: Neil Eyre (Independent)
HUMBERSIDE Police and Crime Commissioner candidate Neil Eyre is “sick and tired of the political establishment”. Jenna Thompson finds out more about this man of the people who is attempting to gate-crash more traditional rivals in the election on November 15
HE IS selling himself as the man of the people among the politicians and police officers.
Neil Eyre is the former soldier and project manager in the running to become the first Humberside Police and Crime Commissioner.
Despite having no experience of either politics or policing, Mr Eyre believes he is the best candidate to represent what the people want.
"I am somebody that is sick and tired of the political establishment," he said.
"I am just one of the voters. I have no delusions of grandeur, no aspirations of power, I just want to do the job."
Mr Eyre, 34, says he firmly believes the £75,000-a-year job should be taken by a "normal person".
He is sitting in his favourite Scunthorpe café, days after securing the £5,000 deposit needed to run by just a few pounds.
Standing as an independent candidate, he has had to rely on donations from friends, family and members of the public to raise the money to stand.
He is wearing a black t-shirt emblazoned with the words "independent revolution", which he has been selling to fund his campaign.
Currently unemployed and receiving Jobseekers Allowance, and with two young daughters to provide for, he admits campaigning is leaving him "skint".
"I was supposed to be going to a meeting in Hull a few days ago, but I had to cancel because I didn't have money to put petrol in the car or to pay the toll," he said.
"Getting the deposit went right down to the wire.
"I only got the money together just before the deadline.
"But I had a lot of support and I was determined to do it."
Like all the candidates, Mr Eyre must secure five per cent of the votes to see his deposit returned.
With so much to lose – and, he admits, only a tiny chance of being successfully elected next month – just why is he doing it?
"I firmly believe the electorate deserve a choice – a real, honest choice," he says.
"I wouldn't see myself as having power over thousands of people, more as a custodian of the police force.
"People have heard the false promises and the lies from politicians and members of the establishment so many times before.
"Why will this time be any different?
"A lot of people I have spoken to say they don't think a politician should be involved with the police, and they really don't want Lord Prescott, so I think it could give me the edge.
"The other independent candidates are a former MP and a retired police officer.
"I am the only one that is truly independent.
"I will listen to people and their priorities, take them on board, and try to reflect them in what I do."
Mr Eyre served nine years in the Army, before leaving to set up his own business working as a project manager on IT and telecommunications projects.
His latest contract ended earlier this year, leaving him unemployed and deciding to stand for the role as police commissioner.
After weeks of campaigning and meeting residents, he says his priority is to protect frontline policing.
"The majority of people I speak to don't want to see frontline policing affected by cuts," he says.
"Crime is still going down, so why change something that isn't broken?
"I want to know what people's priorities are and then see what we can live without.
"I don't want frontline policing to be cut, so I will be looking at non-essential services and getting rid of the ones we don't need.
"What I want to do is go in with a blank piece of paper and start from scratch, without changing anything operationally.
"Everything I do will be based on reason, logic and evidence – like the police themselves."
He says, if elected, he will be "completely transparent", producing monthly reports of his activities and refusing to claim expenses.
He clearly wishes to capitalise on what he believes is an increasing amount of mistrust in politicians.
He said: "People need to think about when they have voted before.
"Did the political parties do what they promised? If they let a politician win, the same things will happen again and again.
"Do they want this to be like a local council or general election, where the parties only care about winning their seats?
"Or do they want someone who, too, is sick and tired of all that?
"I am just a private citizen who is putting their head on the chopping block.
"I'm quite boring, like most people.
"I go out occasionally at the weekend, I take the kids to the park, I see my friends and family for a natter.
"I am just normal, like everyone who will be voting.
"I am not a special one, I am not Jose Mourinho, and going to go in and make everything run on my own brilliant ideas. I just want to listen to the people and give them what they want."