Three main party candidates chosen in race to be Bedfordshire's next police boss

Candidates from all three main political parties have been confirmed in the race to be Bedfordshire's next police boss.

By Stewart Carr
Monday, 11th January 2021, 2:38 pm
Updated Monday, 11th January 2021, 2:40 pm

A poll for the election of the Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) will take place on Thursday, May 6, 2021, after a year-long delay due to Covid-19.

The PCC's main role is to ensure that the police force in our area is effective and efficient. They are responsible for a budget, raised from the local policing precept via Council Tax.

The Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats have confirmed their candidates in the race, while no independents or candidates from other parties have been announced to date.

Conservative candidate Festus Akinbusoye, Labour candidate Dr David Michael and Lib Dem candidate Jas Parmar

Here are our three candidates' introductions below.

THE CONSERVATIVE PARTY - FESTUS AKINBUSOYE

Festus Akinbusoye has been selected as the Conservative candidate for the Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) election.

Festus, who lives in the county and runs his own business, was selected by Conservative members in Bedfordshire on February 29 last year.

His campaign team state they "will focus on building on the successes of the last four years under the leadership of Conservative PCC, Kathryn Holloway" who is stepping down.

“I am honoured to be selected as the Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner candidate for Bedfordshire,” Festus said.

“Residents and business owners deserve to feel safe here in Bedfordshire. I want to boost the number of community based police officers in both our rural and urban communities, be tough on gun, gang and knife crime and the causes of these; and increase investment in support services available to victims of crime.

“As Police and Crime Commissioner, I will be ambitious for us to become an outstanding policing area, delivering a safer Bedfordshire for all our residents and businesses.

“This Conservative Government is committed to strengthening the police force with plans to recruit 20,000 extra officers. I now want to make sure that we get our fair share of these new officers here in Bedfordshire."

Festus grew up on a council estate in East London and now runs a business employing sixty staff. He has mentored young offenders, was a Parish Councillor, sat on the board of a Further Education College and is currently a board member of a successful YMCA.

Last year, he unveiled plans for a drug and alcohol programme should be elected and he also serves as a Special Constable for Bedfordshire Police.

THE LABOUR PARTY - DR DAVID MICHAEL

David Michael, who has two grown up daughters, is from Luton.

David had a 30 year career in frontline policing, serving in the Metropolitan Police Service where he was promoted to the rank of Detective Chief Inspector. He was also a team leader in the Serious Crime Directorate at Scotland Yard.

He served as an elected Labour councillor in Lewisham and was chair of the Safer Stronger Communities Select Committee and vice chair of the Licensing Committee.

Since his retirement from the Metropolitan Police, David has been involved in a several community, voluntary and charitable groups including, cancer awareness organisations and organisations involved in honouring police officers killed in the line of duty. He was chair of a Community Police Engagement Group for several years.

David was awarded an MBE in 2020 for services to the community.

He said: "I’m delighted to be Labour’s candidate to be the next Police and Crime Commissioner for Bedfordshire, the county I grew up in.

“As a Police Officer for 30 years and former Detective Chief Inspector, I know what it takes to keep our communities safe.

“For too long, both our Police Officers and members of the public have been let down. If I’m elected, I will work tirelessly to ensure Bedfordshire gets the frontline resources we need to keep our streets and communities safe.

“As a Police and Crime Commissioner, my key priorities will be tackling violent crime and county lines, ensuring greater levels of support for the victims of crime and also making sure our Police Officers are given effective support and resources they need to get the job done.”

THE LIBERAL DEMOCRATS - JAS PARMAR

Jas Parmar has been selected by the Liberal Democrats as their candidate in the 2021 Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner race.

He is campaigning for our streets to be safer and to bring back more community policing, as well as take a fresh approach to tackling youth violence and tackle speeding, anti-social behaviour and crime. Jas is also committed to supporting our police so that they can work safely and effectively.

Jas said: "Above all, I want local policing to be accountable to you - listening, responding to local problems, and keeping local communities safe."

He has lived with his family in Clifton for over 33 years and run several successful businesses. He currently runs a Post Office in Kempston and is a former Police Officer with five years' service in the Metropolitan Police and he has served as a member of the Independent Advisory Group to the Police.

Jas was also a Non-Executive Director of East London Foundation Trust, covering mental health issues in Luton and Bedfordshire.

He has also been highly critical of a proposed council tax increase to boost police funding.

"It is quite clear that the Tory Government over the past years has failed to truly deliver fair funding for our hard-pressed Bedfordshire Police. Why once again, are Bedfordshire's residents expected to pay more for a poorly funded police force and why are our local police expected to work without the resources they need?

"As a former police officer and member of the Independent Advisory Group to the Bedfordshire Police, I have had first-hand experience of the effects of underfunding. It affects the moral within the police and has a direct impact on policing in the community. The public in Bedfordshire expect better. I will continue to demand fair funding for Bedfordshire Police, who have been historically underfunded."

Jas previously stood as the Conservative candidate in the Beds PCC election in 2012.