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Kent Conservatives pick 31-year-old Matthew Scott from Swanley for police and crime election race

By Paul Francis

Kent Conservatives have chosen 31-year-old Matthew Scott as the party's candidate for next May's police and crime commissioner election.

Mr Scott, from Swanley, works as the office manager for government whip David Evenett and was a councillor in Bexley for four years between 2006 and 2010.

He said he would cut the salary for the post - currently £85,000 - and would not claim any expenses if elected. He also pledged to keep the police element of the council tax down - although a statement on his website prior to today's hustings said he intended to freeze the council tax "unless a rise is necessary.

Kent Police Headquarters

While he acknowledged that he had no direct experience of policing, his brother was a serving officer, as had been his father before retiring.

"I understand how policing works in practice, but I am clear about the need for effective accountability and independence," he said.

He said his key priorities would be to cut crime, support victims and have a police presence in every community, both urban and rural.

He added that as commissioner, community projects would be supported and he would be available to the public at meetings and other events.

On his Twitter account Mr Scott said:"It is an honour and privilege to have been selected as Conservative Candidate for Kent Police and Crime Commissioner for May 2016."

Whoever wins the election next May will do so at a turbulent time for police forces as they cope with the consequences of funding cuts and increasing concerns about the impact of budget reductions on maintaining security in the face of terrorist threats.

The hustings meeting was held today in Tonbridge.

Mr Scott saw off the challenge from two other candidates - Jo Gideon, a former Thanet councillor and Richard Bunting, from Ashford.

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