Prescott visits Bridlington on the campaign trail

John Prescott visits Bridlington in his battle bus, pictured with Coun Shelagh Finlay and Keith Hunter.
John Prescott visits Bridlington in his battle bus, pictured with Coun Shelagh Finlay and Keith Hunter.

A FORMER deputy Prime Minister has launched a public consultation tour as part of his campaign for a top police role.

John Prescott, 74, came to Bridlington on Monday in his campaign “Battle Bus”, to speak to residents of the town about any changes or concerns they have about Humberside Police’s current service.

Lord Prescott, Deputy Prime Minister under Labour administration from 1997 until 2007, is campaigning for the new role of Humberside Police and Crime Commissioner, which will replace the Humberside Police Authority later this year.

During his time as Deputy Prime Minister, Lord Prescott worked on anti-terrorism policy and the COBRA emergency committee; he was also an MP for 40 years, representing Kingston-upon-Hull East between 1970-83 and Hull East between 1983 and 2010.

Lord Prescott said: “What we wanted to do was to get a mobile surgery to find out the views of the public and find out what they want from their police authority.

“What I am trying to do is travel right round and discuss with people what they want with the community policing.

“It is a very important role and I think this is an opportunity to get a proper police and crime service.”

He visited Bridlington accompanied by East Riding and Bridlington Town Councillor, Shelagh Finlay and former divisional police commander in Hull, Keith Hunter.

Lord Prescott acknowledged the enjoyable aspects of getting out to meet people, but remained firm about his motivation for the role.

“We cannot sit idly by and watch this government commit the same political vandalism on the police service as it is currently doing to the NHS.

“I want to act as a people’s voice, addressing the concerns of the public and ensuring their police service is the best it can be.

“As well as drawing up cohesive social and policing policy, it is vital that I listen to the people.

“I have never been anything else but in public service,” Lord Prescott said.

His campaign pledges focus around involving the public in their Police force as he aims to increase its accountability and give the community input into the draft of the Humberside Police and Crime Plan, as well as acting as a strong public voice for the Police force and community at a national level.

Lord Prescott also pledges to improve the co-ordination between the community and Police to aid crime reduction and to better support victims of crime by giving them a say in how criminals should pay back society.

He faces competition from other candidates: Conservative Matthew Grove, UKIP MEP Godfrey Bloom, former Humberside Police chief superintendant Paul Davison, independent candidate Walter Sweeney, Liberal Democrat Simone Butterworth and independent Neil Eyre.

The role of police and crime commissioner will involve managing the direction of the police force, setting the budget, appointing the chief constable, linking the police and the community and ensuring the police operate efficiently and effectively.

East Riding of Yorkshire Council are to hold a pre-nomination briefing for candidates on Tuesday September 18 at County Hall, Beverley, for key details of the election procedure including important dates in the election timetable, the nomination process and postal vote procedures.

Elections are on November 15. November.