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Essex: New police and crime commissioner Nick Alston makes tackling Clacton violence a top priority

06:01 17 November 2012

Nick Alston, new police and crime commissioner for Essex, has made tackling violence in Clacton a top priority

Nick Alston, new police and crime commissioner for Essex, has made tackling violence in Clacton a top priority

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THE newly-elected Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex said tackling violence in Clacton would be a top priority.

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Conservative candidate Nick Alston beat Independent Mick Thwaites after a second preference count was undertaken in Chelmsford yesterday.

Mr Alston received a total of 62,350 votes compared to Mr Thwaites’s count of 55,664.

Just 13% of eligible voters turned out on Thursday.

Mr Alston said tackling crime in Clacton would be a top priority after a series of violent attacks in the last year.

“Knife crime in Clacton is a priority and it’s an issue I feel saddest about.

“I intend to be a public noisy figure – not meaning it’s all about me but I have listened to people during my campaign and one of the things they want are sharper police response times.”

The 60-year-old, who was born above Harwich Police Station, where his father was the police chief, added: “One of my aims is communications and engagement between the public and police.

“People want to see their concerns about local issues are being listened to. My other goal is to get the police to work more closely with charities and other public services.”

Mr Alston, asked about the low turnout, said: “It would have been great if more people had voted but I would like to say well done to those who did vote as it was quite a complicated process to get your head around. Any new role is going to have a low turnout but it will increase once people see what the role involves.”

Addressing the size of his salary, he added: “It’s been decided by Parliament. I am not doing this job for the money, I am doing it because I want to make a difference.”

Mr Alston studied Natural Sciences at Cambridge University before serving as an officer in the Royal Navy. He also undertook defence and security roles for the Government.

Other candidates who ran for the £85,000 job were Labour’s Val Morris-Cook, who secured 27,926 of first preference votes; Linda Belgrove (Independent) with 22,163; Andrew Smith (UKIP) with 15,138 and Robin Tilbrook (English Democrats) with 11,550.

INDEPENDENT candidate Mick Thwaites has congratulated the newly-elected Essex Police and Crime Commissioner following a close election result.

Mr Thwaites, a former City of London, Metropolitan and Essex police officer, secured 58,664 votes in yesterday’s election count, coming second to Conservative Nick Alston.

Speaking after the count, Mr Thwaites said: “I’d like to send my congratulations to Nick. It’s going to be a tough job over the next few years but I am sure he will do very well.

“I’d also like to thank the huge number of people who did vote for me.

“I have spent 30 years in policing and I believe we should support victims and reduce anti-social behaviour – these are objectives I think we should be leading on.

“In terms of the election, I think the whole process was well organised and it’s nice being part of history.

“It wasn’t a great turnout, there was a lot of social apathy, people didn’t really know what the role is about or what it would replace.

“However, the role has a stronger mandate than any Essex MP and we need to make sure people in Essex find it a valuable service and vote in bigger numbers next time.”

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  • Don't be so condescending Mr. Thwaites, we do know what the role is about and what it replaces. Mostly we think it is a waste of time and the new political commissioner will be able to do little to influence events as long as the police are underfunded and seldom seen before, not after crimes have been committed. We shall see how it goes, I am pessimistic.

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