Nominations close for Kent’s crime commissioner election

Current PCC Matthew Scott with officers on patrol

By Local Democracy Reporter Simon Finlay

Nominations have closed in the race to become the next Kent Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) – with just three runners and riders.

Contesting the election will be the Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats.

A high deposit of £5,000 and the requirement of candidates to achieve 5% of the public vote to retain it seems to have put off more marginal contenders for the £89,000 a year role.

In the running on May 2 are Mathew Scott, the Conservative generally regarded to be the favourite to secure a third term in office, Lenny Rolles for Labour and the Liberal Democrat Graham Colley.

The PCC role oversees the work of Kent Police and its Chief Constable and holds them and their decisions to account.

Mr Rolles is a Kent resident who worked with legal and justice agencies while manager of public affairs at the animal welfare charity RSPCA.

He said, if elected, he would concentrate on shoplifting which has become a “major issue” in many parts of Kent.

One of his party’s headline policies at this year’s general election will be proposals to create a law aimed specifically at assaults on retail workers.

The sentencing tariffs would increase from six months to two years.

Rochester-based Mr Colley, a solicitor in the county, says his party’s policy is to restructure the role of the PCC and replace them with Police Boards made up of elected local councillors.

His website says: “It is a Liberal freedom to live without the threat of crime. However, as radicals, we must look to  real solutions, not gratuitous fixes.  Crime is a symptom of a problematic society and the individuals within it.

“Policing cannot change society, it can only seek to prevent its worst effects until society solves its own problems.  However, until then, an effective police service is required to ensure the right to safety and security.”

The 5% vote share requirement to regain the deposit will have put many people off standing, say observers.

According to the Electoral Commission: “The deposit will be returned if you poll more than 5% of the total number of valid votes cast in the police area. Those candidates who have polled less than, or equal to, 5% of the total number of valid votes cast will lose their deposit.”

Only a handful of borough councils are holding elections in Kent on May 2, so turnout in the rest is likely to be low.

Matthew Scott (Photo Kent PCC)

Mr Scott’s concern will be that the Tory vote stays at home and the other two parties’ support is motivated to teach the national government a lesson, say observers.

Because of Covid-19, the elections were held in 2021 when Mr Scott achieved more than 50% of the vote, meaning there was no count of second preferences. Labour came second.

Mr Scott said he had increased police numbers to the highest ever.

He added: “As a result, crime has been falling. Burglary is down by over 40%. The number of county line drug gangs has been reduced substantially.”

Among his pledges for a third term is his  ‘Immediate Justice’ campaign –  making those who commit antisocial behaviour quickly pay back to the neighbourhoods they affect.

2021 result:

Matthew Scott, Conservative: 237,278

Lola Oyewusi,   Labour: 103,807

Graham Colley, Lib Dem: 69,464

There were 420,422 votes cast, with 9873 spoilt papers.

Turnout: 31.8%

12 Comments

  1. Highest number of police officers????
    Burglary down, 40% ????
    I don’t believe it. Kent police have cut the numbers drastically of PCSOS. Kent police seem to be either flash and Dash or hide and seek. If you send them a message on line it’s never acknowledged
    or replied to. If you have 40 minutes to spare you can try phoning 101. Mr Scott is the favourite?????

  2. Lack of any neighbourhood policing , Police Stations shut, sea fronts on weekend evenings, knife crime up, miscarriage cassette still far too prevalent, why would anyone vote Tory?

  3. How arrogant of the police commissioned to think that the Tory Vote” will be like little sheep and turn out to vote for him just because he’s a Tory, the Conservatives have completely broken Britain in so many ways it will take years to put right. Kent police officers are not easy to find unless they are wanted for a photo shoot then they fall over themselves behind the smiling Commissioner, at £89,000 per year it’s time My Scott got off the gravy train.

  4. I vote for the taxi driver who picked me up from Westwood Cross earlier today. He had better ideas than any of the above!

  5. Oh dear, what a rabble. Do away with the PCC and spend the funds on officers on the beat.
    I am not sure how Matthew Scott got the figures he spouted but Thanet seems to lack a police officer at night, weekends and bank holidays which is when they are needed even more. It is becoming lawless on the streets as the yobs realise they can get away with anything now.
    Even if he has found some figures he could manipulate down, in comparison there will be plenty more that has gone up during his two terms in the role. That is not something to applaud himself over. Get rid of !

  6. If ever there was a waste of public money it is running this election standalone. Not part of the election cycle for RTC or TDC or the general election.

    Utter waste of time, resources, facilities and effort.

    I suspect turnout won’t even reach 10% because frankly, why would you? I’m astonished the election cycle isn’t merged to other local election timescales.

    Utter waste.

    • Yet there was no vote on such important issues as gay marriage, lockdowns and the removal of banks.

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