RESIDENTS will vote in Cheshire’s police and crime commissioner (PCC) election next Thursday.

We hear from each of the candidates battling for the role.

David Keane, Labour (Cheshire’s current PCC)

I'm proud to have grown up in Warrington, Cheshire and to bring my family up here.

I studied criminal justice before qualifying with a law degree and have worked up to board level in the private, public and voluntary sectors.

I've served as a local elected representative for 22 years, including the last five years as your police and crime commissioner. I'm proud to be standing on our values of fairness, community and protecting our public services.

Runcorn and Widnes World:

I'm proud to have delivered your priorities for policing. In the last five years I've reversed damaging Government cuts and have rebuilt local policing, we now have as many officers as before austerity.

And we're using them more effectively, we now have a dedicated police officer and a PCSO, working from your local community police base, with local community safety funding, for every community in Cheshire – and that's a first in the UK 

Going forward, my priorities are to keep you and your family safe, to make sure that crime doesn't pay and to be your strong voice in policing.

Let's build on the strong foundation we've laid and continue working together to build safer communities.

John Dwyer, Conservative

The police and crime commissioner is your representative whose job it is to oversee the performance of the chief constable and the constabulary as a whole.

The PCC handles a budget of in excess of £200 million – this is your money and it needs to be spent wisely.

I was the first PCC for Cheshire from 2012 to 2016. I was in post during a difficult time financially for the whole country, pressures which resulted in cuts to police numbers nationally.

But, despite that, I was able to increase the number of police officers in Cheshire to 2011 whilst in office.

Runcorn and Widnes World:

I left a budget to recruit a further 70 officers during the 2016-17 financial year. However, the current incumbent simply allowed the establishment to stagnate until the autumn of 2019 with the start of the Government initiative to recruit 20,000 more police officers.

The public want to see more police officers – I have shown that, even in difficult times, I satisfied that need. I didn’t have Government help to achieve that – I did it through good and astute management.

The PCC should be non-political with a focus on your needs not on politics. This is what you will get with me in post.

Jo Conchie, Liberal Democrat

I am standing to be police and crime commissioner for Cheshire because I want people to feel safer at home and in their communities.

I want people to have the law work for them and I want victims to feel better supported and for them to not just be fobbed off with a crime number. 

I have a law degree and I trained to be a barrister, but after seeing so many victims of crime being let down by the system, I realised it’s more important to reduce crime at the source.

Runcorn and Widnes World:

So I got a masters degree in criminology and criminal psychology, in order to identify the causes of crime and research practical ways to reduce it.  

I have worked with police forces in various parts of the UK and it’s allowed me to identify ways that we could operate more efficiently here in Cheshire. 

We haven’t had a female police and crime commissioner in Cheshire yet and I would be able to bring a fresh perspective to many of the issues we face in our county.

I would like to use my knowledge, experience and dedication to reducing crime to make Cheshire safer for everybody.

Nick Goulding, Reform UK

As Police and Crime Commissioner for Cheshire I will with integrity and honesty, hold the chief constable to account, ensure all complaints are taken seriously and handled with due diligence, champion local delivery of policing led by local priorities and promote co-operation with neighbouring forces.

Public confidence in police training, recruitment and methods can only be achieved by demonstrating absolute impartiality, upholding the law whilst honouring the oath of office in full.

It is my opinion that we need to get back to common-sense policing. For some time now the police have been under pressure to enforce a particular political perspective. This has led to a crisis in confidence from the people.

Runcorn and Widnes World:

The police have been used to suppress free speech, recording ‘non crime incidents’ and restricting freedom for some to protest while ‘taking a knee’ with others.

Similarly, protests outside schools have been tolerated, while others including a church service have been forcibly broken up.

This two-tier policing must end, and the political class responsible held to account. The Labour and Conservative parties have got us in this mess, I will fight to get us out of it.