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Col Tim Collins in race for Kent police commissioner

Colonel Tim Collins has confirmed he plans to enter the race to become Kent’s first elected police commissioner.

The Iraq war veteran used an unscheduled appearance at the Conservative party conference today to declare his hand, saying that elected police commissioners would transform policing.

He was introduced on stage by Home Secretary Theresa May.

He said: "I believe they will change people’s lives and transform policing. Why? When the bureaucrats are in charge, the police stop doing what the public wants them to do."

He added: "There is more social work done than policing and that has to change. That is why we need the public in charge and that is why we need elected police commissioners. We need to introduce rat catchers who are going to change things and are accountable to the public. Policemen need to be energetic and accountable and above all they need to be motivated."

He revealed he had spoken to Kent chief constable Ian Learmonth yesterday about his decision to run for the job next Autumn, when commissioners will replace police authorities.

"It is a police force for which I have huge admiration. I want to make Kent a more accountable police force. It is a good force, it is match fit and it is going to get better."

The job would not be one for a "sunset councillor" he said or a retired police officer with an axe to grind.

Urging others to stand for election, he told the conference: "If you care about your community and think things can be done better, do not stand on the touchline and complain – stand in the elections."

Kent Police Federation said Colonel Collins had made politically naive’ comments.

KFB chairman Ian Poynton said: "I think he has to learn that he is not going to be leading the police force. He will be acting for the governance of the police - he won’t be making an eve of battle speeches. He’s obviously a great military figure and I have the greatest respect for him but his comments show an a level of political naivety. I do not think he has fully grasped the implications."

"I do not think that it is helpful for him to be making ill-informed policy ideas. My tip to him would be to go and find out what policing is about, what the job entails from top to bottom."

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