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Borough residents campaign to be new police commissioner
1:01pm Monday 17th September 2012 in News
TWO borough residents are vying for the chance to become the new West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner.
Home fittings showroom manager, Bill Etheridge, from Sedgley has been chosen as the UKIP candidate, while former borough police dog handler, Mike Rumble is standing as an independent in the November 15 elections for the new post, which will replace the current Police Authority.
Mr Etheridge, from Tipton Street, who works at Changing Rooms in Upper Gornal , has pledged to increase the number of beat bobbies, demand tougher sentences and undertake a total spending review, with savings channelled directly into front line policing.
Despite having no policing background, 42 year-old Mr Etheridge, who is married with three step-children, believes he is the right man for the role.
Mr Etheridge, who is also the UKIP prospective parliamentary candidate for Dudley North, said: “I will bring a fresh approach, free from the jaded and tired thinking that has brought morale in our police so low and led to the general public losing faith in our police and justice system.”
Meanwhile Mr Rumble, from Wollaston, who worked at Brierley Hill Police Station, before becoming a dog handler and a member of the Regional Crime Squad, has pledged to halt further police job cuts and says he will not support proposals to award contracts to private security firms.
Mr Rumble, aged 55, who volunteers for Dudley Cancer Support, also plans to ask the Chief Constable to give PCSOs authority to arrest offenders if elected.
With just a 20 per cent predicted turnout for the forthcoming polling day, the pair also urged residents to ensure they cast their vote.
The successful candidate will be responsible for setting the area’s policing priorities for the next five years and will also have to hold the Chief Constable to account to deliver those priorities, manage the entire police budget and commission services to support crime victims and crime cutting programmes.
Other independent candidates standing in the election include Ray Egan and Cath Hannon; while Matt Bennett has been selected to stand for the Conservatives and Bob Jones is the Labour Party’s candidate.
The final candidate list will be announced on October 19.
For more on both campaigns visit billetheridge.co.uk and mikerumblewmpcc.co.uk