UKIP is to field an international expert on police reform and security as its candidate in the Kent crime commissioner election.
Henry Bolton, 52, from Folkestone, a former army and police officer, will stand in next May’s election for the £85,000 a year role currently held by independent Ann Barnes.
He stood as a Liberal Democrat candidate in the 2005 general election in the Surrey seat of Runnymede and Weybridge but joined Ukip about 18 months ago.
A leading expert on international police reform and border controls, he was a police officer for Thames Valley force for eight years, during which he received an award for outstanding bravery.
He now works on international security issues for the government and has been involved in reforming a number of forces in other countries.
He said being chosen as Ukip’s candidate represented “a marvellous opportunity to enhance policing in the county.”
"The challenges that we are facing in Kent are things that I have helped other governments to address for several years. What I want to do is use that experience in Kent.”
On the issue of budget cuts facing Kent Police, likely to be a key focus of this week's Autumn statement, he said changes could be made to make areas of the service more efficient but that he would do “everything I can to hold the government to account for the impact centrally imposed cuts have on the ability of the police to protect the public.”
"The challenges that we are facing in Kent are things that I have helped other governments to address for several years. What I want to do is use that experience in Kent"- Henry Bolton
“Responding to crime, risks to public safety and disruption today has to be of the highest priority but we have to get better at preventing harm in the first place and in addressing those responsible for it.”
He was awarded the OBE in 2013 for his services to international security.
In 2010, he was deployed to Afghanistan where he spent two and a half years working on allied efforts to rebuild the government and policing.
On joining Ukip, he said he felt more comfortable in a party that said what it thought:
“For me, it was totally refreshing to be among people in the political world who said what they thought. I have never believed that you have to position yourself on the left, right or centre of politics.”
Ukip party leader Nigel Farage said: “We are delighted to have someone of Henry’s background as our candidate. Given the policing challenges we face as a country, Henry’s skills are a significant asset.
Closer to home, he stood as a candidate in this year’s Shepway council election and is deputy chairman of the “Remembrance Line Association” which is pressing for the re-opening of the Harbour branch railway line.