THE CONSERVATIVE candidate for the role of Humberside Police and Crime Commissioner has prioritised dealing with drunk and disorderly revellers, and traffic offences, if he is elected into the role.
Matthew Grove, who is currently councillor for mid-Holderness on East Riding of Yorkshire council, spoke to residents in Bridlington on Chapel Street on Saturday.
He said that after speaking to residents in the town, his focus if elected would be to target those who drink to excess and behave anti-socially on an evening - promising to “bill drunken troublemakers who waste police time”.
Coun Grove, who spent Saturday evening in Bridlington with a police incident response team speaking to door staff, taxi drivers and those out in pubs and clubs, said: “One thing that I will target is the drunkenness and anti-social behaviour problems we see on an evening in town and city centres across the Humberside force area on a weekend.
“My plan is to bill those who waste police time. If an officer policing a town centre costs for example, £100 an hour, and it takes two officers two hours to deal with a drunken offender, then I would bill the offender for that time.
“I have spoken to the Justice Minister Chris Grayling and there is nothing stopping us billing these people, and then passing on their details to private debt collection companies. Part of this money will be used to fund effective crime prevention activities.
“Why should normal tax-payers foot the bill for their behaviour?”
Coun Grove, 29, said that after speaking to door staff, taxi drivers and others involved in Bridlington’s night time economy, he learned that while police have been praised, a lack of officers on patrol was a “real concern”.
“One of my first tasks when elected will be looking at ways of the police joining together with partner organisations and businesses across the Humberside force area to create a ‘Nightsafe’ scheme that can deliver exactly what it says, ‘more safety at night’,” he continued.
Promising that he will be a commissioner “for our whole area, not just one part of it”, Coun Grove also vowed to get tough on traffic offences - an issue he said the people he had spoken to in Bridlington were passionate about.
“People are concerned that speed cameras are taking the place of police officers. I want more focus on speeding and road offences. Speed cameras cannot catch people speeding on other stretches of road, they cannot catch the driver who is travelling without insurance or a license, they cannot catch the van full of stolen metal.”
Asked whether that tactic would mean that more officers would be needed, Coun Grove said that “it isn’t always about numbers and budgets, but the way officers are deployed.”
“I am ready to meet the challenge with integrity, hard work and a solid belief that I can make a difference.”
Coun Grove joins former deputy prime minister John Prescott, who is standing for the Labour Party, former Bridlington police chief Paul Davison, UKIP MEP Godfrey Bloom, Lib Dem Simone Butterworth and independent Walter Sweeney in standing for the role.
The police and crime commissioner will be tasked with cutting crime and delivering an effective and efficient police service, setting budgets and identifying police priorities when they replace the Humberside Police Authority, which will be abolished later this year.
The Home Office said the new role would provide “stronger and more transparent accountability” to the police and make forces answerable to the communities they serve.
The Chief Constable of Humberside Police, Tim Hollis, has previously criticised plans to install a police and crime commissioner while other critics have argued that the role is an unnecessary layer of bureaucracy.
But Coun Grove said that the role will “hold the police to account and put the needs and concerns of the public first.”
He said: “The recent report into the Hillsborough tragedy shows why a Police and Crime Commissioner is needed.
“The police service is absolutely vital to the people of the area, but no organisation is perfect or infallible and the new role will ensure the police are delivering what the public want.”
Elections for the £75,000 a year role will take place on November 15.