Independent candidate pulls out of ‘flawed’ race for elected police commissioner

Khan Juna with Thames Valley Police Chief Constable Sara Thornton

Khan Juna with Thames Valley Police Chief Constable Sara Thornton

First published in News Bicester Advertiser: Photograph of the Author by , Crime Reporter, also covering Barton and Wood Farm. Call me on (01865) 425427

THE election race for a new police chief has hit further controversy after the man who has been overseeing Thames Valley Police quit the contest, branding it “a party political campaign”.

Khan Juna, former chairman of Thames Valley Police Authority, said the price and effort of campaigning to be Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) meant it was impossible for an independent candidate to win.

The £85,000-a-year job will replace the authority and duties include setting the force budget and policing plans, and engaging with the public. Mr Juna, who had hoped to stand as an independent, said the process was becoming too politicised.

The winner will have to sign an oath of impartiality before they start the job on November 22.

Mr Juna said: “The officers of the Crown are responsible to uphold the law above party politics. If there is a party influence it will be very difficult to keep confidence in this public service.”

And Mr Juna said the £75m cost of the nationwide elections would be better spent on frontline policing.

Mr Juna, 59, stood on the police authority since 2003 and chaired it for the last four years.

In a statement announcing his withdrawal from the November 15 poll, he said: “This is a flawed policy that had been badly implemented and in these political elections I believe that the public are the real losers – uninformed about the election, ill-informed about the candidates and what they stand for, and with a serious risk of the politicisation of policing.

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“These are elections which nobody wanted, which few people know about and which, despite the insincere rhetoric of Government, have turned into yet another party political campaign.

“November 15 will not be a good day for policing in England and Wales.”

Nominations for the post opened last Monday and close on Friday. Andrew Smith, Oxford East Labour MP, said: “There is a lot of time and resources invested in this which could be better spent on policing and crime victims.”

Nicola Blackwood, Conservative MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, was unavailable for comment.

Antisocial behaviour victim Jimmy Hayes, 73, of Windale Avenue, Blackbird Leys, said the money would be better spent on policing, adding: “I imagine 50 per cent of the public haven’t a clue and don’t want to know.”

Oxford city councillor Elise Benjamin was set to be the Green Party’s nominee but said the party could not afford to contest the election. She said it would cost £35,000 to send leaflets across the region, adding: “It is prohibitively expensive.”

Candidates must also provide a deposit of £5,000 and 100 supporting signatures from voters. West Berkshire District Council member Anthony Stansfeld is the Conservative candidate, while John Howson, a magistrate from Oxford, is standing for the Lib Dems.

Buckinghamshire salesman Barry Cooper is standing for UKIP. Labour candidate, Amersham barrister Tim Starkey, said: “One advantage of having a party line is it actually tells people about the values of the person standing.”

Headington gun collector Martin Young, charity trustee Patience Awe, Gurcham Singh, and Geoff Howard have said they will stand as independents, but the shortlisted candidates will not be revealed until next Tuesday.

Thames Valley Chief Constable Sara Thornton – when asked if she agreed with the elections – said: “Parliament has decided that’s what we are going to do, so my responsibility is to make sure the transition happens as smoothly as possible and policing in the Thames Valley is improved.

“What I hope people do is look at the manifestos and decide what they want.”

Home Office spokesman Hannah McCarthy said: “PCCs will be elected by the people and will be held accountable at the ballot box – a huge democratic step forward over current invisible and unelected authorities.”

Comments (8)

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1:55pm Wed 17 Oct 12

paul from Kennington says...

With Martin now pulling out, it is basically a Labour, Tory, and Lib Dem By-Election, and going by county council election results across the TVP area an easy win for The Conservative candidate. It seems to me a complete wast of money all round.
With Martin now pulling out, it is basically a Labour, Tory, and Lib Dem By-Election, and going by county council election results across the TVP area an easy win for The Conservative candidate. It seems to me a complete wast of money all round. paul from Kennington
  • Score: -54

9:34am Thu 18 Oct 12

Cathena says...

Everyone I speak too wants an independent candidate - who trusts any politician these days, however many times they are required to swear neutrality.
Everyone I speak too wants an independent candidate - who trusts any politician these days, however many times they are required to swear neutrality. Cathena
  • Score: 0

9:46am Thu 18 Oct 12

Englishman says...

Why was this election not done to coincide with the Council elections in May and save loads of taxpayers cash. Remember P.P.P.P.P.P.P. = Proper Prior Planning Prevents P*** Poor Performance.
Why was this election not done to coincide with the Council elections in May and save loads of taxpayers cash. Remember P.P.P.P.P.P.P. = Proper Prior Planning Prevents P*** Poor Performance. Englishman
  • Score: 0

2:33pm Thu 18 Oct 12

Barry Cooper UKIP TVP PCC says...

Khan Juna's pulling out is a real pity - he added to the public debate in a very substantial sense. More evidence of how the old parties have weighted these elections to favour their representatives.

But I take issue with this just being a Lib/Lab/Con race - I am not in this to make a statement or simply to attract protest votes. I believe that UKIP and myself have a selection of good, common sense policies that appeal to the law-abiding majority of the Thames Valley.

It would indeed be a shame to squander the oppurtunity to elect a properly impartial PCC by putting in place a party mouth piece. Thank goodness UKIP believes in real accountability, representation and accessibility - the only viable choice for an independent PCC in the Thames Valley is UKIP - anything else would end up in a highly politicised element being brought into the role with representatives of the three old parties wasting time and resources scoring political points on one another.
Khan Juna's pulling out is a real pity - he added to the public debate in a very substantial sense. More evidence of how the old parties have weighted these elections to favour their representatives. But I take issue with this just being a Lib/Lab/Con race - I am not in this to make a statement or simply to attract protest votes. I believe that UKIP and myself have a selection of good, common sense policies that appeal to the law-abiding majority of the Thames Valley. It would indeed be a shame to squander the oppurtunity to elect a properly impartial PCC by putting in place a party mouth piece. Thank goodness UKIP believes in real accountability, representation and accessibility - the only viable choice for an independent PCC in the Thames Valley is UKIP - anything else would end up in a highly politicised element being brought into the role with representatives of the three old parties wasting time and resources scoring political points on one another. Barry Cooper UKIP TVP PCC
  • Score: 0

4:18pm Thu 18 Oct 12

paul from Kennington says...

Barry Cooper UKIP TVP PCC wrote:
Khan Juna's pulling out is a real pity - he added to the public debate in a very substantial sense. More evidence of how the old parties have weighted these elections to favour their representatives.

But I take issue with this just being a Lib/Lab/Con race - I am not in this to make a statement or simply to attract protest votes. I believe that UKIP and myself have a selection of good, common sense policies that appeal to the law-abiding majority of the Thames Valley.

It would indeed be a shame to squander the oppurtunity to elect a properly impartial PCC by putting in place a party mouth piece. Thank goodness UKIP believes in real accountability, representation and accessibility - the only viable choice for an independent PCC in the Thames Valley is UKIP - anything else would end up in a highly politicised element being brought into the role with representatives of the three old parties wasting time and resources scoring political points on one another.
We all know that Mr Cooper and agree with you. But unfortunately there are not enough of us in the TVP area to win against the party line, even here in Oxford with a labour council, look at the Tory vote in the county, it massively outweighs everyone else. It is very sad for democracy, but it seems that whoever is put up to stand, people will vote along party lines.
[quote][p][bold]Barry Cooper UKIP TVP PCC[/bold] wrote: Khan Juna's pulling out is a real pity - he added to the public debate in a very substantial sense. More evidence of how the old parties have weighted these elections to favour their representatives. But I take issue with this just being a Lib/Lab/Con race - I am not in this to make a statement or simply to attract protest votes. I believe that UKIP and myself have a selection of good, common sense policies that appeal to the law-abiding majority of the Thames Valley. It would indeed be a shame to squander the oppurtunity to elect a properly impartial PCC by putting in place a party mouth piece. Thank goodness UKIP believes in real accountability, representation and accessibility - the only viable choice for an independent PCC in the Thames Valley is UKIP - anything else would end up in a highly politicised element being brought into the role with representatives of the three old parties wasting time and resources scoring political points on one another.[/p][/quote]We all know that Mr Cooper and agree with you. But unfortunately there are not enough of us in the TVP area to win against the party line, even here in Oxford with a labour council, look at the Tory vote in the county, it massively outweighs everyone else. It is very sad for democracy, but it seems that whoever is put up to stand, people will vote along party lines. paul from Kennington
  • Score: 0

4:27pm Thu 18 Oct 12

Barry Cooper UKIP TVP PCC says...

I do not disagree with you - "tribal voting" patterns are detrimental to the democratic process.

With this election at least there is the supplementary voting system - vote your conscience freely for 1st preference and cast a 2nd preference on a "tactical" basis if you feel the need.

What is true is that a lot of people, including the Tory candidate, see this whole process as a done deal for the Tories. It is not. I would urge people to do the research, read the manifestos, and vote on principle - even if it is not for me!

Although of course I see myself as the best candidate when it comes to being able to position myself as an impartial, independent voices without interference from party whips or ministers/shadow ministers with a political point to score on this week's PMQs.

But read what the candidates are saying and make the choice on who you want to actually win, not just who you dislike the least, or we are fated to always suffer under a non-representative system peopled by disconnected party clones carrying the accumulated baggae of decades of ideology.
I do not disagree with you - "tribal voting" patterns are detrimental to the democratic process. With this election at least there is the supplementary voting system - vote your conscience freely for 1st preference and cast a 2nd preference on a "tactical" basis if you feel the need. What is true is that a lot of people, including the Tory candidate, see this whole process as a done deal for the Tories. It is not. I would urge people to do the research, read the manifestos, and vote on principle - even if it is not for me! Although of course I see myself as the best candidate when it comes to being able to position myself as an impartial, independent voices without interference from party whips or ministers/shadow ministers with a political point to score on this week's PMQs. But read what the candidates are saying and make the choice on who you want to actually win, not just who you dislike the least, or we are fated to always suffer under a non-representative system peopled by disconnected party clones carrying the accumulated baggae of decades of ideology. Barry Cooper UKIP TVP PCC
  • Score: 0

4:28pm Thu 18 Oct 12

Barry Cooper UKIP TVP PCC says...

And apologies for spelling errors... old keyboard and fast typing do not always mix well!
And apologies for spelling errors... old keyboard and fast typing do not always mix well! Barry Cooper UKIP TVP PCC
  • Score: 0

6:21pm Mon 12 Nov 12

Myron Blatz says...

By standing as the official UKIP candidate, he's not exactly independent of politics. As for Mr Young, I think he's probably better-known across Oxford as a property developer - so more 'mudslinger' than gunslinger, perhaps? I don't think anyone really thought the PCC job would be anything but political, and controversial. The money this has cost to set-up is outrageous, even for the Tories - and may yet to prove as shambolic as 'elected Mayors' have become, where they have been elected. Still, it wastes lots of lovely public money, and cheaper than the annual Aid budget to India. Will the new PCCs be self-regulating, like the bankers?
By standing as the official UKIP candidate, he's not exactly independent of politics. As for Mr Young, I think he's probably better-known across Oxford as a property developer - so more 'mudslinger' than gunslinger, perhaps? I don't think anyone really thought the PCC job would be anything but political, and controversial. The money this has cost to set-up is outrageous, even for the Tories - and may yet to prove as shambolic as 'elected Mayors' have become, where they have been elected. Still, it wastes lots of lovely public money, and cheaper than the annual Aid budget to India. Will the new PCCs be self-regulating, like the bankers? Myron Blatz
  • Score: 0

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