West Midlands Police & Crime Commissioner: The candidates battling for your vote

On Thursday 6th May, people across the West Midlands will be voting for their Police & Crime Commissioner (PCC).

On the ballot paper this year, there'll be 6 candidates hoping to gain your vote. One man who won't be on the list is outgoing PCC David Jamieson. The Labour Commissioner, who has been in the role since 2014, won't be standing for re-election this year.

The PCC election uses a different polling method, meaning people will be able to choose two candidates - a first and second choice.

The winner will oversee the West Midlands Police force, deciding how it works and how it represents the local community over the next 3 years.

What does a Police & Crime Commissioner do?

They appoint the Chief Constable and hold them to account. They set the budget and monitor how the force performs.

Some PCCs are also responsible for the Fire & Rescue Service in their area - though there are only four that do this, with one being in Staffordshire and one in Northamptonshire.

The 2021 candidates, in alphabetical order:

  • Simon Foster - Labour Party

The candidate hoping to take the baton from David Jamieson is Labour's Simon Foster. He's campaigning on a platform of being the region's 'People and Communities Commissioner.'

He says he's dedicated 34 years of his life to working as a legal aid solicitor, and will always represent the interests of the people rather than those in power.

Here's his top pledge:

  • Julie Hambleton (Jools Hambleton) - Independent

Julie Hambleton, or Jools, as she'll be known on the ballot paper, lost her sister Maxine in the 1974 Birmingham pub bombings.

She's a member of the campaign group Justice for the 21, where she says she has campaigned for "truth, justice and accountability" for family members.

She says she's running because she knows what it's like not to be heard by law enforcement, and pledges to listen to anyone who comes to her with a problem - irrespective of their background.

  • Mark Hoath - Reform Party

Reform UK is the new name for the Brexit Party. Their candidate Mark Hoath is a former regional manager for Lloyds Bank who now runs a coaching and events consultancy.

Mr Hoath calls for a 'Broken Windows Approach' to policing, which he says would see more police on the streets, and a zero-tolerance policy to minor crime.

  • Jon Hunt - Liberal Democrat

Councillor Jon Hunt currently represents the Perry Barr ward on Birmingham City Council.

He says he wants to get rid of the "money-wasting" he claims is going on with PCCs - and says he wants to put large sums of money towards increasing front-line policing.

  • Desmond Jaddoo - We Matter Party

Bishop Dr Desmond Jaddoo says his approach is all about the community. He says there's a disconnect between the PCC, and the local community.

He pledges to transform the PCC into a body that takes its leadership from the people - rather than making policing political.

  • Jay Singh-Sohal - Conservative

Mr Singh-Sohal is the Conservative candidate running to be the West Midlands PCC.

He says he doesn't believe "we should accept the rising crime we are seeing." He says he'll "work to get crime down."

In an interview with ITV News Central, he defended the claim that it is the Conservative government who are responsible for the police cuts seen over the last few years, saying the blame lies with the region's PCC.

  • Polls open on Thursday 6th May.

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