Labour selects candidate for Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner election

Labour has selected its candidate to run for Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner next month.

Labour's Sussex PCC election candidate Paul Richards
Labour's Sussex PCC election candidate Paul Richards

Paul Richards, who lives in Eastbourne, has been an activist and campaigner for years standing for Labour at the 1997 general election in Billericay in Essex and Lewes in 2001.

He also worked as a special adviser at the Department of Health, the Cabinet Office and the Department for Communities and Local Government and is currently a freelance writer penning speeches and running training courses.

His campaign has three main strands: more police, a victims law and more funding for preventative measures such as youth centres and services for young people.

Mr Richards said: “The incumbent has been there for nearly a decade.

“It’s time for a different approach. Labour’s approach is about putting money into the frontline and making sure there is more neighbourhood policing and supporting victims because they are central to the process.”

Mr Richards was involved in the Labour government that put more emphasis on neighbourhood policing and introduced police community support officers (PCSOs).

He wants to see more visible policing and officers who are recognised in the community all of which ‘boosts confidence and helps prevent crime’.

And he pointed out that recent recruitment drives at Sussex Police were only starting to replace officer numbers reduced from 2010 onwards.

Meanwhile a victims law is about establishing victims and witnesses as central to the criminal justice system.

He explained that sometimes the experience of going through the system can sometimes be as traumatic as the crime itself.

This would mean a right to protection, support, counselling and advice.

Mr Richards argued that too many services and facilities for young people have been cut and wants to see investment in youth clubs, sports clubs and skate parks to give a few examples.

He said: “It pays off in the long run.”

As a Labour and Co-operative candidate he wants to see more of Sussex Police’s money spent locally instead of all to big suppliers.

He is also a supporter of the green agenda and wants to see more electric vehicles in the police’s fleet.

Another idea is for pop-up police stations in empty shop units to increase visibility in town and village centres.

Other candidates are Lib Dem Jamie Bennett, Green Kahina Bouhassane, Conservative Katy Bourne and Independent Roy Williams.