On Thursday May 6th Somerset voters will be going to the polls to elect their Police and Crime Commissioner for the Avon and Somerset Area. The office was created in 2012 and the only person elected throughout all those years was Independent Sue Mountstevens. This time she isn’t standing and this puts Labour’s candidate Kerry Barker , who came a close second last time, in a key position to take the seat. On Tuesday 9th March Kerry will be speaking to Bridgwater and West Somerset Labour members on zoom and with no other elections to fight in the county of Somerset, members will be focused on getting him elected.
Leader of Labour controlled Bridgwater Town Council Brian Smedley says “In the 2016 election the vote was really close . What people might forget is that not only does Labour have a strong base in the Bristol area, where we have ALL the MPs and run the council, there’s also a proportional element to the vote which allows 2nd preference votes to be added in as well. Here in Bridgwater we have a good working relationship with the police and Police matters are always the first item on the agenda of every town council meeting plus we run a separate Police Priorities Forum. Sue Mountstevens did visit Bridgwater when we asked her but I feel she was trapped as an independent by the system and so couldn’t command the resources she needed if she had a party behind her. With people sick to death of the Tory cuts to Police and frontline services over the last decade and now generally astounded at the failure to reward nurses I can’t see them making any inroads here and so we all need to get behind Kerry and the Labour campaign.”
About Kerry Barker
Kerry is a barrister with 50 years’ experience in the Criminal Justice System.
In particular he specialised in dealing with abuse cases – from child abuse, through abuse of people with learning difficulties to abuse of the elderly.
His aim is to improve police effectiveness throughout the whole area.
People have told Kerry that they are fed up with the police failing to deal with local crime so much so that they can no longer be bothered reporting crimes to them This applies as much in rural areas as it does in the towns and cities. Kerry says “The Labour Party is fully aware of the harm caused to police forces by the austerity cuts made by successive Tory governments and that repeated promises of additional officers fail to materialise BUT locally made decisions by the current Commissioner and her Deputy and the Chief Constable have made matters worse. Detection rates for crimes such as theft, burglary, criminal damage, public disorder are just awful. The idea that people can steal from shops with apparent impunity must stop. The harm done to hard working, law-abiding members of the public by the irresponsible minority appears to go unchallenged. Recent examples of an inability to deal with illegal street parties and raves have a serious impact on local residents.”
As a lifelong socialist Kerry is very aware that those most affected by crime are the poorest and most vulnerable members of our communities.
If elected Kerry will –
- Restore local policing – by having police officers appointed for and living in local areas. This way people will know who their local officer is and the local officer will know what is going on in his or her area. This will apply equally to rural areas, towns and city estates and suburbs.
- Hold the Tories to account for the closure of local police stations and prevent any further closures
- Seek the return of specialist teams to deal with abuse and violence
- Improve detection rates by giving priority to the recruitment and promotion of specially trained detectives (reducing work overloads)
- Increase the recruitment of BAME officers (not just support officers and civilians)
- Campaign for improved pay and working conditions for police officers
- Campaign for better services for those suffering mental health issues (reducing the burden on police officers)
- Support alternative provisions for drug and alcohol users (so as to reduce the burden on police officers and the cost to the NHS)
- Support new provisions for dealing with homelessness (again reducing the burden on the police)
Kerry Barker’s Website kerrybarker4pcc.com