Local Police Priority Setting in Cambridge With Tory Graham Bright as Police and Crime Commissioner

Saturday, November 10th, 2012. 8:19pm

On Saturday the 10th of November 2012 I spotted a tweet from Timothy Barnes of Stevenage saying he would be outside Cambridge’s Guildhall with the Tory Police and Crime Commissioner Candidate for Cambridge, Graham Bright. Later Graham Bright’s twitter account emitted a message saying “Pop along if you want to have a chat”; I saw this when it was retweeted by the Tory Agent for Cambridge, Tim Haire (Who tweets as Radegund), and decided to go down.

One thing I really wanted to find out from Mr Bright is if local police priorities for the areas of Cambridge would still be set by our local councillors if he becomes commissioner. Local democratic priority setting, and the holding of the police to account against the priorities set, is something I greatly value. I have regularly used the opportunity to question our local police, and to lobby councillors setting the priorities. When the priority setting process has come under threat in the past I have used the public speaking slot at a council meeting to seek to maintain local democratic influence and oversight.

At the last West/Central Area Committee in Cambridge, held on the first of November 2012 I asked if councillors knew any of the commissioner candidates’ policies on retaining police priority setting at the meetings. The councillors did not appear to know. I suggested councillors invite the commissioner to their next meeting (he will be elected by then) so they can find out if they will still be able to set their police priorities in the future. The committee agreed with my suggestion and resolved to invite the commissioner to their next meeting. I plan to suggest to all Cambridge’s area committees that they issue similar invitations.

When I tried to put my question to Mr Bright he was evasive and not keen to answer; I persevered and eventually got a response – that he won’t reveal his policy on this key matter unless and until he is elected. I suggested to Mr Bright that it would be a good idea to reveal his policies now so that people can decide if to vote for him or not based on them; however he didn’t appear to agree with me.

Locally set police priorities are very important to many in Cambridge; they allow a local focus on things like cycle theft, road safety and enforcement of 20 mph and other speed limits in response to residents’ views as expressed via their councillors.

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11 comments/updates on “Local Police Priority Setting in Cambridge With Tory Graham Bright as Police and Crime Commissioner

    1. Paul Lythgoe

      In a recent and rather larger election one of the candidates dismissed 47% of his electorate as no hopers who wouldn’t vote for him, and didn’t matter. Mitt Romney lost. Could Sir Graham Bright be heading in the same direction? His rejection of questions put to him by Richard Taylor, and Steve Tierneys rejection of John Lawton are instructive.

  1. bob

    Steve Tierney has missed the point as usual. Graham Bright has consistently refused during the campaign to give straight answers to straight questions and was equally evasive on the Radio Cambs phone in. I listened to that with an open mind as I really didn’t know who to vote for. I was left with the impression that Graham Bright was only prepared to give a straight answer if it was previously prepared for him. His performance was underwhelming to say the least.

    I have never been a Tory supported but I did think the Tories got their original selection right by selecting someone with a modicum of political neutrality. His replacement by Graham Bright has led this election down familiar party lines with the Labour Candidate seemingly having only one mantra “no privatisation” and a focus on Peterborough, and a Tory candidate who thinks he should be elected because he is a safe pair of hands. His words not mine.

    This whole PCC election was troubled from the start but the lack of visibility of the candidates makes it near impossible for most voters to decide how to vote other than on traditional party lines which is a great shame.

    1. Owen

      I was a bit annoyed at losing Pye having voted for him in the Tory candidate selection process. I’m rather more annoyed now it’s clear just how much of a clown Sir Graham Bright is.

  2. Rex_Imperator

    Graham Bright (Sir Graham as he prefers to be called, every time) avoided my questions in the street too, which were about finances and policing other than neighbourhood policing. I have concerns about a range of crime issues but he was not able to address any of them. He will not be getting my vote, even though traditionally I would have voted Conservative without thinking twice. John Pye was an excellent, independent but Tory leaning candidate. A pity he has gone. For what it’s worth, Ansar Ali is my man – served the polcie authority and the community well, been in local government so understands the governance and finance cultures and is smart enough to ask for help if he needs it.

    1. Richard Taylor Article author

      In my experience Ansar Ali was almost completely silent at the Police Authority.

  3. David

    This is almost as funny as the other video where he says violent films affect the behaviour of dogs.

    Or at least it would be funny if this man didn’t have a 99% chance of being elected to run Cambridgeshire Police.

  4. Paul Little

    Mill Rd. Cambridge

    Incredible arrogance from this candidate, what credentials does he need to see before he’ll answer reasonable, relevant questions from a member of the public?? It’s of genuine concern that the relatively liberal city could well be stuck with a Commissioner with NO knowledge of or sympathy with the priorities of city residents, that would be a failure of the localism agenda!

  5. Pingback: The Police & Crime Commissioner Elections in Cambridgeshire - Kit 4 Security

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