Council leader affirms plans to stand as independent candidate for police job, despite Lib Dem ire.

NORTH Devon Council leader Brian Greenslade spoke to the deputy prime minister before announcing he would to stand as an independent in the first ever police commissioner elections.

The Liberal Democrat councillor says there should be ‘no politics in policing’ but risks the ire of his party and possibly even suspension by putting himself forward for the Devon and Cornwall commissioner role under his own banner for the November 15 election.

“I just don’t think it is right to bring politics into policing,” he told the Gazette.

“Officers do their job and are not able to show any political favour, so I think it is up to those of us who might seek this role out to distance ourselves from the party political arena.

“I have even had a discussion with Nick Clegg about it. I think he understands where I am coming from, but also that a large proportion of Lib Dems are very unhappy with an elected commissioner.”

He added he had spoken extensively to North Devon MP Nick Harvey, whose support remained strong.

“If there are people in the party who decide I should no longer be a member, I won’t lose any sleep over it – we will see what happens,” he said.

The Lib Dems and Conservatives have also announced their intention to put up candidates for the £85,000 a year post, which would see one person with the power to oversee budgets, set priorities and hire and fire the chief constable. He is also a member of the national Association of Police Authorities.

Mr Greenslade said he had made no secret of being a critic of the new commissioner system, but as a current police authority member and former chairman, believed he would bring expensive experience of policing plus a network of contacts to the role.

“I have talked to people across Devon and Cornwall about standing and was well pleased with the feedback, which encouraged me to put my hat in the ring,” he said.

“There is nothing to stop me being a councillor and police commissioner. As far as North Devon Council goes, I have been elected for a period of four years – I don’t ever run away from responsibility and I am happy it is something I can accommodate.

“Now it is up to me to do the best campaign I can and convince people I am the right person for the job.”