Labour reveals its shortlist for police commissioner job
Labour has compiled a short-list of two candidates for its nomination to be Devon and Cornwall's first elected police and crime commissioner.
Party members in the two counties will choose from Plymouth councillor Nicky Williams and Patrick Canavan, who previously stood to be the mayor of Torbay.
The party's nomination will be decided by a one-member-one-vote postal vote and announced in June.
In November, voters will go to the polls in 40 police authority areas, including Devon and Cornwall, to choose a US-style commissioner.
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Whoever wins the £85,000-a-year role will take over from the Devon and Cornwall Police Authority – which is to be abolished – and control the force's budget and be given the power to hire and fire chief constables, who will still run operational policing.
Councillor Williams, from Plymouth Sutton and Devonport Labour Party, and Mr Canavan, from the Torbay Labour Party will be meeting party members from across Devon and Cornwall.
Phil Gaskin, Labour Party South West regional director, said: "Both Nicky and Patrick are incredibly strong candidates, and we believe that our members have a difficult but exciting choice to make."
Whether all three major political parties will stand a candidate for the election remains unclear.
The Conservative Party has received around 20 expressions of interest for the role, which the party will whittle down to a shortlist of three.
The search will culminate in a series of three "open primaries" – allowing anyone to cast a vote – in Exeter, Plymouth and West Cornwall, in the final week of June.
A number of people have expressed an interest in running as the Conservative candidate, including former soldier Paul Biddle, Torbay Council's Alison Hernandez, ex-RNAS Culdrose boss Tony Hogg and Cornwall councillor Lance Kennedy.
The Liberal Democrats initially decided not to stand a candidate, following advice from central office which argued the role risked politicising policing. But the South West is the party's powerbase. Given its strong parliamentary and local authority presence in the region, some feel the party is obliged to compete.
Tonight the local party leaders from across the two counties will meet to vote on whether to reverse the original decision.
Lib Dem Devon councillor Brian Greenslade has expressed an interest in the role even if his party does not change its stance.
Smaller parties will find it hard to compete given the large area the commissioner would cover and the money needed to campaign. Cornish national party Mebyon Kernow has already ruled out putting forward a candidate.