These are the candidates standing for election as Bedfordshire's new police and crime commissioner

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
The election is on May 2

The election to choose Bedfordshire’s next police and crime commissioner (PCC) will take place tomorrow.

Once elected, their role will be to hold the local police force to account – including setting the police budget and deciding on the police share of the council tax bill.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The four candidates to be Bedfordshire’s PCC are – listed alphabetically by surname:

Clockwise from top lift: Waheed Akbar - The Workers Party of Britain; Festus Akinbusoye – Conservative; John Tizard – Labour; Jasbir Singh Parmar – Liberal Democrats;Clockwise from top lift: Waheed Akbar - The Workers Party of Britain; Festus Akinbusoye – Conservative; John Tizard – Labour; Jasbir Singh Parmar – Liberal Democrats;
Clockwise from top lift: Waheed Akbar - The Workers Party of Britain; Festus Akinbusoye – Conservative; John Tizard – Labour; Jasbir Singh Parmar – Liberal Democrats;

Waheed Akbar (Workers Party),

Waheed Akbar said the Workers Party is the only “real alternative” to the Labour and Conservative parties.

“We think both these parties are the same, and the third party, the Liberal Democrats, we don’t consider that they have any chance,” he said. “My campaign is to win the election, not just to undermine one party.”

Akbar was a Labour Party member for over 30 years, but says it is “no longer the party I joined”.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Mr Akbar was called “Mr Luton” by the Workers Party leader, George Galloway. This led to some questioning whether “Mr Luton” would be able to understand crime in other communities in Bedfordshire.

“If you read my CV or check my experience in the community [you can see] that I fully understand the issues,” he said. “I actually know the root causes of the crimes as well. Domestic violence, anti-social behaviour, major crime issues, drugs related crime, gang culture, and knife crimes.

“These kinds of things I think we need to prioritise to make Bedfordshire safer and that actually includes the local businesses and local people as a whole. I had been working with the police, with all the stakeholders, whether that is with the Luton Community Safety Partnership, whether it is a police committee. I understand the issues.”

As part of his campaign, Mr Akbar has spoken about the redistribution of police resources.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“The main issue is actually how we can spend prudently, I think that’s the way,” he said. “My priority would be actually prioritising the [needs of the people] – we have to address those concerns.”

Festus Akinbusoye (Conservative),

The Conservative candidate for Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner role has pledged a “no nonsense” approach to neighbourhood crime.

Festus Akinbusoye said a “no nonsense” approach means making sure that the police force is making the use of the legislation and powers that are available to it – including “dealing with things like the use of e-scooters.”

“It’s been really frustrating for me that the force has remained focused on education and engagement – I want to see more enforcement. So, I will be making sure that as part of the force’s anti-social behaviour strategy that enforcement against the use of these is something that we do more of in Bedfordshire

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“I think first of all you need to have the neighbourhood officers in place. But now we have a full complement of officers in community policing, which has never been the case before. So we have the highest ever number of physical bodies on the ground to do the job, and part of what I want them to be able to do is to deal with the anti-social behaviour in our communities

“So, it’s not that it was nonsense in the past, it is just a case that now I think we’ve got the established numbers in community policing we can’t say that we don’t have enough officers to deal some of these very visible crimes that many people face in our communities any more,” he said.

One of his other pledges, is a tougher enforcement against organised crime gangs, what is going to be different to the approach taken over the last three years?

“Not everything can be a priority all the time, otherwise nothing becomes a priority,” he said. “So the focus for me in my first term as commissioner was getting the police officers in record numbers, which has been done. Improving the retention of police officers, and improving the culture within the organisation which we have done.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“I think that we can now start looking at more use of the Proceeds of Crime Act. We are arresting these people, we’re taking more drugs off the streets, taking more weapons off the streets. I want to see the force use more of its powers in taking the ill-gotten gains off these criminals.”

Jas Parmar (Lib Dems)

Lib Dem candidate Jas Parmar said the lack of PCC engagement with the public and businesses has led to voter apathy.

He said: “25 per cent of people go out and vote in these elections, anyone with 40 per cent will get elected. Now in my quick maths, that’s one in ten of the voting public have voted for a PCC. Nine in ten have not. Where is the democracy in that?”

Parmar said engagement is vital for the “primary purpose” of policing – to prevent crime.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“You can only prevent crime if the public feels safe and if there is visible policing, because visible policing works. And the thieves also see that, and that leads to crime prevention.

“I know it works because I’ve been there, I’ve got five years experience of that [by serving with the Metropolitan Police].

“Community police officers are exactly the same as they were nearly six or seven years ago. If community policing is not a priority set by the PCC then the chief constable isn’t going to implement that.

“So yes, I want the police to be reactive, I want the police to go out and catch all the criminals and bad people.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“But I want police to be proactive, proactive in the community, business communities, in the villages, in the towns, on the high streets, in the shopping centres.

“I don’t want them to turn up for one month in 10 years and catch all the shoplifters and move them to somewhere else. I want them to be there all the time. I want them to be a deterrent all the time.”

Mr Parmar added: “I am somebody who actually understands it all and somebody who’s got all round experience, not just in policing and finance, but also in the community as well.

“If we can’t change from outside, you might as well change it from the inside. We’ll make it more accessible to the public, I will become a listening police and crime commissioner where I engage more, listen more and tell less."

John Tizard (Labour)

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

John Tizard said his campaign refers to the “failure of 14 years of Conservative government and to eight years of Conservative PCCs”.

“I think it is quite legitimate to point out the failings of the Conservative government and the Conservative candidate, who is my main opponent in this election,” he said.

“There have been significant failures, locally too and our leaflet points both those out. In terms of my performance, I will want to be absolutely transparent about what the level of performance is,” he said.

If elected Mr Tizard said he would undertake a “proper comprehensive objective review” of some of the key performance statistics.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“And then I would expect to report on those quarterly, six monthly or annually depending what the statistics are, and to be held to account for that,” he said.

“I’ve also said I’d be open not only to scrutiny by the Police and Crime Panel, but by local authority councillors as well.

“And I would expect to hold public meetings around the county which I’m calling Challenge and Accountability Meetings, where I would expect us to go and explain what has happened both across the country and more locally, and to be held accountable for that.

“And in the same way, I will be holding the chief constable to account for the performance of the police service and against the police and crime plan.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“I really do believe in accountability, transparency and information on the performance of both the PCC and the police is something which is absolutely a prime duty for a PCC,” he said.

The PCC is already held to account by the Police and Crime Panel, so what is wrong with how it has scrutinised the PCC in the past?

“I think the Police and Crime Panel could be more robust,” he said.

Mr Tizard said if elected he will deliver an “outstanding” police service for Bedfordshire.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“Throughout this campaign, and increasingly when I am talking to people whether it’s on the doorstep, or in other settings they’re finding strong support for my mission and for my policies,” he said.

“And I think there’s a feeling that it’s time for change, both in Bedfordshire and nationally.”

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.