Top Lib-Dem won't stand in party colours for police job
A senior Westcountry Liberal Democrat has ruled himself out of standing to be the region's first elected police commissioner for his party – warning crime-fighting risks being too influenced by "party politics".
Former Devon County Council leader Brian Greenslade is considering running as an independent candidate for the £85,000-a-year post in Devon and Cornwall.
But after it emerged the Lib Dems are seeking a nominee for the November vote, Mr Greenslade has announced he will not wear the party's rosette if he does run.
He told the Western Morning News: "I believe the public want coppers not commissioners and the public certainly don't want party politics in policing."
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The party in the region had initially planned not to put forward a would-be commissioner after taking instructions from head office.
The Conservatives are drawing up a shortlist, with open elections planned for July, and Labour members in the two counties have two nominees to choose from.
It is thought independents will stand little chance of winning without the backing of a political party's funding and manpower.
Stand-alone elections for 41 new police commissioners, including one for Devon and Cornwall, are scheduled to take place later this year.
Mr Greenslade, a former chairman of the Devon and Cornwall Police Authority and head of the Liberal Democrat group on the Association of Police Authorities, is a county and North Devon district councillor.
The police authority, which oversees policing, is being scrapped to make way for the US-style police and crime commissioner, plus a panel to act as a watchdog. Chief constables will still be in charge of operational policing.
Mr Greenslade said he was a "resolute opponent" of the legislation to put the governance of policing in the hands of an individual, adding this was Lib Dem policy at the general election.
He said: "For the avoidance of any doubt, I will not be seeking nomination as a party-political candidate for the election. Key reasons for my opposition was that party politics should not be brought into policing and cost.
"While I have to accept that Parliament, unwisely, decided to change the governance of policing, my view that party politics should not be brought into these elections is unchanged.
"We expect our police officers not to show any party- political favour. Those standing in these elections should do likewise. In this period of austerity it is also obscene that police officer numbers should be substantially cut while the Government can waste £75 million on these elections.
"I believe the public want coppers not commissioners and the public certainly don't want party politics in policing. I believe the majority of Liberal Democrats in Devon and Cornwall share this view and did not want the party to run a candidate."
He added: "I confirm that in the circumstances Parliament has put us in I am seriously interested in standing for this office, but on my own independent platform, not as a party- political candidate, and continue to work to see what campaign I may be able to mount."