Rye hopefuls out of running for role of new policing head

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TWO Rye area hopefuls for the role of Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner have fallen at the last hurdle.

Both Colonel Anthony Kimber and East Sussex County Council leader Peter Jones had made it to the final three short list as Conservative candidates for the role.

But they lost out to Haywards Heath based Conservative candidate Katie Bourne.

Anthony Kimber, who chairs and runs the Rye emergency action group REACT, was philosophical and commented: “I was happy to have reached the final three.”

Police Commissioner is a new role, created by the Government. The public will have a chance to vote and elect commissioners for each county and area of England in an election on November 15.

They will influence and make key decisions on everything from street lighting and graffiti to tackling gangs and drug dealing.

Their job is to listen to the public and respond to their need bringing more of a public voice to police and giving the public a name and face to complain to if they are not satisfied with policing in their area.

But the new post seems to have failed to capture public imagination with The Electoral Reform Society predicting a low turn-out of just 18.5 percent when voting takes place in November.

The process has also come under fire from critics who claim that independent candidates are at a clear disadvantage as they don’t have the weight of a political party machine behind them.

Colonel Kimber had originally stood as an independent but then stood under a Conservative banner, claiming that although he would have preferred to remain independent it would have hampered his chances.

Cllr Peter Jones has served as a member of the Sussex Police Authority.

In this part of East Sussex, Hastings councillor and magistrate Godfrey Daniel has been selected as the Labour candidate.

Prime Minister David Cameron said: “This is a big job for a big local figure.

“It’s a voice for the people. Someone to lead the fight against crime and someone to hold to account if they don’t deliver.”