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Kent Police Crime Commissioner election count begins

The election count to determine who will be the county’s police and crime commissioner will start today.

On Thursday, voters headed to polling stations across Kent to determine who will hold the role, as well as to appoint councillors in some areas.

Voters went to the polls on Thursday
Voters went to the polls on Thursday

The ballots for local council elections in Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells were counted on Friday, but today incumbent Matthew Scott will find out if he is still Kent’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC).

The Conservative is generally regarded to be the favourite to secure a third term in office, but is facing competition from Lenny Rolles for Labour and the Liberal Democrat Graham Colley.

A high deposit of £5,000 and the requirement of candidates to achieve 5% of the public vote to retain it seems to have put off more marginal contenders for the £89,000-a-year role.

The PCC oversees the work of Kent Police and its Chief Constable and holds them and their decisions to account.

Mr Rolles is a Kent resident who worked with legal and justice agencies while manager of public affairs at the animal welfare charity RSPCA.

Matthew Scott will be hoping to retain his PCC seat
Matthew Scott will be hoping to retain his PCC seat

He said, if elected, he would concentrate on shoplifting which has become a “major issue” in many parts of Kent.

One of his party’s headline policies at this year’s General Election will be proposals to create a law aimed specifically at assaults on retail workers.

The sentencing tariffs would increase from six months to two years.

Rochester-based Mr Colley, a solicitor in the county, says his party’s policy is to restructure the role of the PCC and replace them with police boards made up of elected local councillors.

His website says: “It is a liberal freedom to live without the threat of crime. However, as radicals, we must look to real solutions, not gratuitous fixes. Crime is a symptom of a problematic society and the individuals within it.

Lenny Rolles is the Labour candidate
Lenny Rolles is the Labour candidate
Liberal Democrat candidate Graham Colley
Liberal Democrat candidate Graham Colley

“Policing cannot change society, it can only seek to prevent its worst effects until society solves its own problems.

“However, until then, an effective police service is required to ensure the right to safety and security.”

Speaking previously, Mr Scott said he had increased police numbers to the highest ever level.

He added: “As a result, crime has been falling. Burglary is down by over 40%.

“The number of county line drug gangs has been reduced substantially.”

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