Suffolk: New independent candidate steps forward for new police commissioner role

THE battle for the top police job in Suffolk has become a three horse race after an independent candidate added his name to the ballot papers.

The latest candidate for the high-profile role of Police and Crime Commissioner for Suffolk, David Cocks, says that only he would be able to take on the post “without political bias”.

Mr Cocks, chairman of mental health charity Suffolk MIND, has put himself forward as the third hopeful for the key position with the election just six weeks away.

A former chief executive of Radio Orwell and out-of-hours healthcare service Take Care Now, Mr Cocks is standing as an independent candidate as he feels there is “no place for politics” in the new role.

He said his impartiality would allow him to succeed in the post, helping to ensure that Suffolk offers “no hiding place” for criminals.

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The county will go to the polls in November to choose between Mr Cocks, Labour candidate Jane Basham, a former chief executive of Ipswich and Suffolk Council for Racial Equality, and Conservative runner Tim Passmore, leader of Mid Suffolk Council.

The successful candidate will have the responsibility of holding chief constables and the force to account, replacing the current Suffolk Police Authority.

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Mr Cocks said it would be the biggest change to policing since 1829 and many people still seemed unaware of the significance of next month’s election but those he had spoken to had mentioned the importance of making the role politically impartial.

He said: “I don’t believe that we should be handcuffed for a four year period to a political party.

“If the commissioner is to deliver to the people of Suffolk a safer community and a reduced crime rate, ensuring there will be ‘no hiding place’ in Suffolk for criminals, then this role should only be filled by a candidate able to focus objectively on what needs to be done without political bias.”

Mr Cocks said that having lived and worked in Suffolk for 25 years, he understands this county well.

“I have worked as chief executive of both broadcasting and health companies; and now as chair of a Suffolk mental health charity and as governor of a major high school in the county, I have further developed my extensive knowledge of Suffolk.

“My business experience and my understanding of the communities which make up Suffolk gives me the confidence to believe that, if elected, I can be a catalyst for innovation, reform and stronger partnership working across the wider criminal justice system, building on the excellent work of the Police Authority, which the commissioner’s role will be replacing.”

Voters can head to the polls on Thursday November 15.

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