On May 5, voters will go to the polls to choose who they want as their Police and Crime Commissioner.
It is only the second time the vote has taken place. The Police and Crime Commissioner role came into being in 2012, one for each force to replace police authorities. Their primary aim is to make sure police forces are being run efficiently and effectively and to hold the force to account.
Already the two men in charge at the moment in the Mercury have revealed they do not intend to stand again.
Alan Hardwick (Independent), Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner, said last week: “I am simply retiring but I can do so knowing that I have achieved what I have set out to do as commissioner.
“Crime has reduced, a fair deal for Lincolnshire is on its way and we continue to deliver performance that is as good as and, in many cases, better than more well-funded police areas.”
And Sir Clive Loader (Con), the Police and Crime Commissioner for Leicestershire Police, revealed last summer that he would not seek re-election, saying he’d delivered “tangible and sustained improvements” and that he had viewed his term as a “last tour of duty”.
So who will replace them? The nomination process is not due to end until April 7 but in Lincolnshire, three political parties have so far put forward candidates.
The Conservatives have chosen Marc Jones to run in the May election, UK Independence Party has put forward Victoria Ayling and Labour Lucinda Preston.
A Lincolnshire county councillor, Coun Jones, 43, is executive member for finance and property.
He has been married to Rachel for 21 years and the couple have a daughter, Tabitha, aged seven.
Mr Jones said: “My priorities will be boosting both neighbourhood and rural policing, as well as working with our hard working officers to ensure victims of crime are at the forefront of everything we do.
“I will also be a police and crime commissioner who will work in a positive way with our government and MPs to get the best funding deal for Lincolnshire Police.”
Also a county councillor, Coun Ayling stood for the Great Grimsby seat for UKIP at the 2015 General Election, where she came third.
She previously fought the same seat in 2010 for the Conservatives, but defected to UKIP in 2013.
Coun Ayling, a trained barrister, said: “My legal and business background will make me ideal for the job to ensure best policing for Lincolnshire residents and best value for money.
“Currently I believe Lincolnshire residents deserve better from their police. I am not blaming the officers but the systems they have to work within. For example, an obsession with targets means red tape is preventing bobbies being on the beat.
“Meanwhile, many residents feel it is becoming pointless calling the police if they are a victim of some crimes, other than to get a crime number for insurance purposes.”
Coun Ayling says she would want to see an increased police presence as this is reassuring for residents, as well as looking to give PCSOs more powers.
Lucinda Preston has been announced as the Labour party candidate for Lincolnshire.
Lucinda, a teacher who works at a school in Sleaford, said: “We all need to feel safe and secure in our homes and on the streets we walk down every day, so it’s important that our police force is tackling the problems that we really care about.
“That’s why I’m listening to what people all across the county have to say.
“We all pay our taxes and everyone deserves effective policing, whether they live in a city, a market town or a small village.”
In Leicestershire, the UKIP has selected David Sprason, the former deputy leader of Leicestershire County Council as its candidate.
Coun Sprason has previously worked with the police and helped launch ‘keep safe cards’ designed for vulnerable people. He was, for a number of years, a member of the Crime and Safety Partnership that introduced crime prevention projects and a reassurance strategy to help address the fear of crime.
He believes the best form of ‘reassurance policing’ is having beat teams as part of the community – having boots on the ground to help tackle anti-social behaviour and persistent offending.
Referring to a “challenging budget” set as a result of cuts to Government funding, he said: “We need to look at innovative ways to save money while protecting frontline services. Quickly moving forward on sharing services with other forces across the East Midlands is one way we could do this. We also need to be looking to deliver on a single emergency service call centre.
Crown Prosecution Service solicitor Neil Bannister has been selected as the Conservative candidate.
Mr Bannister, who lives near Lutterworth, served as a Broughton Astley parish councillor for 14 years before being elected to the Dunton ward of Harborough District Council in 2011.
Mr Bannister, who is married and has two daughters, is employed as a crown advocate with the East Midlands Crown Prosecution Service.
Former minister Lord Willy Bach is running as Labour’s candidate. Lord Bach started out as a criminal barrister in Leicester, working with the police in prosecution and defence roles. He served as Shadow Attorney General in the Shadow Cabinet earlier this year. He has lived and worked as a councillor in the city and county and lives near Lutterworth.
l Prospective candidates in Leicestershire are being invited to two information events at Force HQ on February 22 and 29. To register your attendance call 0116 229 8983 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org