VOTERS in Herefordshire head to the polls on Thursday, May 6, to elect the new police and crime commissioner (PCC) for West Mercia.

PCCs are elected as representatives who work to ensure police forces in England and Wales are running effectively.

They replaced police authorities in 2012 and were intended to bring a public voice to policing.

Last year’s elections were postponed because of coronavirus, but are set to go ahead next week.

There are four candidates vying for the seat, and you can read about their pledges below.

On May 6, voters will also decide in a by-election who becomes the new Herefordshire Council member for Newton Farm, Hereford.


There are also parish elections for Brampton Bryan, Brockhampton with Much Fawley, Bromyard West, Dilwyn, Eaton Bishop, Ross-on-Wye East, Walford and Bobblestock and Newton Farm on Hereford City Council.

There are also neighbourhood planning referendums for Allensmore, Ashperton, Brampton Abbots, Bredenbury, Clehonger, Colwall, Garway, Linton, Madley, Much Birch, Ross-on-Wye, Stretton Grandison and Titley.

The candidates, and what they stand for

John Campion, Conservative Party

Over the past five years as commissioner, John Campion says he has consistently focused West Mercia Police on fighting crime, catching criminals and making communities safer; as a result most crime types are down.

Mr Campion also says he has been consistently clear that crime and harm being caused should never just be accepted as inevitable in West Mercia. And he also says he has focused on the prevention of crime by tackling the root causes of it.

As part of a series of pledges in the run up to the PCC election in West Mercia, Mr Campion has pledged to continue to increase the amount invested in prevention in his drive to deliver a Safer West Mercia.

Mr Campion said: “The fight against crime will only ever be truly successful if it is accompanied by an effective and wide- ranging programme of prevention. I have focused West Mercia Police on more effectively fighting crime, targeting criminals and supporting victims, but we must do even more to target the causes of crime in our society.”

Peter Jewell, Reform UK

West Mercia Police have one of the biggest areas and one of the smallest budgets at £250 million.

Your police and crime commissioner has to have the experience of handling that size of budget, so I would ask you to look at the CVs of all candidates.

While I am standing as a Reform Party candidate (as I believe in their views), I have made it clear to the leader that I am firmly of the belief that this is a non-political role, and he agrees.

Why do I qualify? My former management consulting company had offices in six countries and operated in 15 other countries. Our clients were major firms and Fortune 500 companies. I am presently a director and in most cases the owner of a number of businesses, including a legal practice.

I was a magistrate for 18 years, and a part-time tribunal judge for 20 years. I was on the national board of the magistrates and chairman of the valuation tribunal members for England.

Let me help you to have an efficient cost-effective force to serve all West Mercia and keep us safe.

Margaret Rowley, Liberal Democrats

Margaret Rowley has lived in Worcestershire for 30 years.

Until recently she was a senior manager in the NHS. She has been a councillor on Wychavon District Council for 25 years and leader of the opposition since 1999.

She has built up a wealth of experience of service management in the public sector.

“Local people, and particularly the elderly, feel vulnerable because they so rarely see any sign of the police in their area,” she said.

“A recent survey we conducted on Facebook showed that 33 per cent felt less safe in their community than they did a year ago. 44 per cent had witnessed crimes or anti-social behaviour in the last three months.

“As a largely rural area, West Mercia Police have to deal with a wide variety of crimes. The force area covers 2,868 square miles, making it the fourth largest police area in England and Wales.

“Rural crimes such as poaching, livestock rustling, theft of diesel and expensive farm machinery are a real problem, as is fly tipping.

“Speeding is a major issue in towns and villages.”

Kuldip Sahota, Labour Party

After 20 years of public service on bodies such as borough and parish councils and the University of Wolverhampton in the capacity of governor, I feel qualified to stand for the post of PCC.

Our current PCC has presided over rising crime rates and the dissolution of our alliance with Warwickshire; to the disapproval of an independent inspector, Warwickshire Police Federation and the Home Secretary of the day.

I pledge to continue to serve the public with integrity and rectitude, to increase the visibility of policing in our communities and to fight central government for proper levels of funding.

In Hereford last Thursday, I met residents and listened to their concerns. The underpass near the old city wall in Victoria Street was one issue that was raised. Women are afraid to pass though it in the day time, let alone at night time, following a sexual assault on a woman there last month.

I will make one of my top priorities to consult locally and make this underpass safe for everyone.

How to have your say

Voting is at local council polling stations, which are open between 7am and 10pm on Thursday, May 6. More details here.