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Summary

  1. Updates from BBC Berkshire and Oxfordshire's PCC election debates
  2. Four candidates up for election this time round
  3. Voters go to the polls on Thursday 5 May
  4. Debates recorded last week: broadcast on BBC Radio Berkshire at 09:00 and BBC Radio Oxford at 18:00

Live Reporting

By Joe Nimmo

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Thanks for following our Police and Crime Commissioner debate coverage

Joe Nimmo

BBC News Online

That's all from our coverage of the debates between the candidates standing to be Police and Crime Commissioner for the Thames Valley, on BBC Radio Oxford and BBC Radio Berkshire.

Join us online or tune in to both stations on 5 May for full coverage of the results as they come in.

Final points from PCC candidates in BBC Radio Berkshire debate

Laetisia Carter - "I will listen to the community, I want this role to be accountable."

Anthony Stansfeld - "One of the things we've done in the Thames Valley is improve technology."

John Howson - "What we need is police surgeries in every town so people can come and talk to the police."

Lea Trainer - "The military has given me an exceptional work ethic... I will enforce that the area commanders and me will have meetings every month."

Trainer: More police on the streets would deter gangs

UKIP's Lea Trainer said a greater police presence on the streets would deter gangs from dealing drugs or committing other kinds of crime.

He said it would make criminals think twice about carrying out offences.

Howson: Intelligence sharing crucial to tackling gangs

John Howson has said "exchanging intelligence" is crucial to dealing with gangs in Berkshire.

He added that it wasn't just drug dealers coming from London, but also people coming down from Birmingham to prey on the elderly and commit fraud, who needed to be monitored.

When is this year's PCC election?

You will be able to go the polls and vote for your Police and Crime Commissioner on 5 May.

Ballot box
BBC

It is the same day as the local elections and you can still register to vote in both elections here.

Carter: We need a PCC who can challenge government cuts

Labour's Laetisia Carter said Thames Valley Police "can't afford" to lose any more officers and she would be able to challenge the government better than a Conservative candidate.

Anthony Stansfeld agreed that the force has "reached its absolute limit" of the cuts it can make, but said he had successfully changed the government's mind.

Sunday Politics live PCC debate

Peter Henley

Political editor, South of England

You can find out more about the role of police and crime commissioners in general from home affairs correspondent Emma Vardy on Sunday Politics.

Peter Henley also hosts a debate with the seven candidates for Hampshire.

Skip to 39 minutes in the video to watch.

Stansfeld: New agency needed to deal with fraud and cyber crime

Anthony Stansfeld said he thinks Action Fraud, the agency that deals with fraud and cyber crime, was "not satisfactory".

Laptop
Thinkstock

He said we need a "separate agency" to deal with both crimes that is"centrally based" but we also need "local expertise".

Female genital mutilation: Candidates disagree over how to tackle issue

The candidates disagreed how to deal with female genital mutilation during the debate on BBC Radio Berkshire.

Laetisia Carter - said the role of a Police and Crime Commissioner was to "change the culture" of the police so such issues are taken seriously

Lea Trainer -  said he disagreed and we need to "protect our own culture". The key was for different agencies like the NHS and social services to work together

John Howson - said we "can't sweep this under the carpet" and it was important to raise the profile of the issue

Anthony Stansfeld - said agencies also needed to work with the communities in which FGM takes place

EU referendum: Candidates asked how Brexit could affect policing

In BBC Radio Berkshire's debate, presenter Andrew Peach asked the candidates how policing in the Thames Valley would be affected by the outcome of the EU referendum.

Anthony Stansfeld - said the police do not know about criminals arriving from Europe because the EU's intelligence services were not up to standard and there "would be more advantages than disadvantages" to leaving.

Lea Trainer - said the people of the Thames Valley know the county the best, just like those who live in the UK know what's best for their country, and he would vote to leave.

EU flag
Reuters

John Howson - said criminals will still make their way to the UK whether or not it is in the EU, the threat of terrorism was "a red herring", and he would vote to remain.

Laetisia Carter - said we are stronger in Europe and she would vote to remain because we get more back than we give from being part of the EU.

How should the police respond to child sexual exploitation?

A sadistic sex gang of seven men were jailed in 2013 for abusing six girls in Oxford between 2004 and 2012. The candidates were asked how they would respond to child sexual exploitation (CSE). 

Lea Trainer - said the response has got to be led by organisations that deal with vulnerable young people, and sharing information is crucial.

Anthony Stansfeld - said he has moved a lot of ex-police officers into dealing with CSE and set up a multi-agency safeguarding hub to make sure cases are properly followed up.

The gang jailed for sexual abuse of young girls in Oxford
Thames Valley Police
The gang jailed for sexual abuse of young girls in Oxford

Laetisia Carter - said the police need to keep the profile of the issue high and more money needs to be invested.  

John Howson - said there is a lack of resources for those investigating CSE, and if he is elected that will not be allowed to continue.

Anthony Stansfeld: 'I changed the government's mind on police cuts'

Tory incumbent Anthony Stansfeld said being part of the same party as the prime minister and home secretary, and having both their constituencies in his patch, helped him successfully lobby to reduce the cuts faced by the police.

Anthony Stansfeld
Anthony Stansfeld

I pointed out, about as forcibly as I could, what the implications of [deep cuts] would be to their own constituencies, and I'm delighted to say they pulled back.

Anthony Stansfeld

Lea Trainer: 'You can't put a price on community safety'

UKIP's Lea Trainer disagrees with Mr Howson and wants to bring back the 'bobby on the beat' and would "definitely not be cutting front-line police".

Lea Trainer
Lea Trainer

Should we put a price on the community's safety? No. The safety of the community is paramount. It's also the perception and the trust between the community and the police. If they don't feel protected then they are less likely to report crimes.

Lea Trainer

John Howson: 'Bobbies on the beat' not the only way of dealing with crime

Lib Dem John Howson says he would close some front counters at police stations because they were not always "a good use of police resources", which needed to be used in a variety of ways to tackle different crimes.

John Howson
Liberal Democrats

It’s easy to say 'lets have more police on the beat', but the new crimes that are growing are crimes you can’t solve by walking round. You don’t solve domestic violence by walking round the streets, you don’t solve cyber crime that way.

John Howson

Laetisia Carter: PCCs should focus on rising crime, not rural crime

Labour candidate Laetisia Carter said people living in rural areas sometimes do not realise "rural crime" refers only to offences such as hare coursing and theft from farm buildings.

Laetisia Carter with Oxford East MP Andrew Smith
Laetisia Carter
Laetisia Carter with Oxford East MP Andrew Smith

We really need to focus on crime that is rising at the moment, the increase in crime such as domestic violence, rape, child abuse, child sexual exploitation. These things are really important.

Laetisia Carter

Are Police and Crime Commissioners a good idea?

BBC Radio Oxford's David Prever asks, against the backdrop of a historically low turnout in 2012, if Police and Crime Commissioners are a good idea?

John Howson - the role provided a "visible face of policing strategy" to the public but the election was being overshadowed by the EU referendum.

Anthony Stansfeld - argued it was a "far more effective system than a committee of 19" and that it was easier to create regional strategies to tackle problems like organised crime.

Lea Trainer - the job was "a means of engaging with the public".

Laetisia Carter - added that the PCC could "set the culture of the police" and ensure money is spent sensibly.

Tune in to listen to highlights from our Thames Valley PCC debates

Joe Nimmo

BBC News Online

You can now tune into BBC Radio Oxford and BBC Radio Berkshire to listen to highlights from their Police and Crime Commissioner debates, which were recorded on Friday.

We'll be bringing you the best bits as they happen.

Turnout under the spotlight after historically low result in 2012

Joe Nimmo

BBC News Online

This year, one result will be closely scrutinised to see how it compares with 2012: voter turnout.

PM defends low PCC turnout

In the first PCC elections, turnout was historically low, leading the Electoral Commission to describe it as "a concern for everyone who cares about democracy".

With all ballots counted, turnout was about 14.9%, BBC research showed.

Police and Crime Commissioner election 2012: How the votes were cast

Bethan Phillips

Political reporter, BBC Radio Oxford

In 2012, Conservative Anthony Stansfeld beat Labour's Tim Starkey on second preference votes after neither candidate managed to get 50% of votes in the first round.

Vote counting
BBC

After the second round of voting, Mr Stansfeld polled 94,238 votes compared to Mr Starkey's total of 70,403.

The result came amid a desperately low turnout across the Thames Valley of just 13.3%.

Meanwhile, 3.3% of ballot papers were spoiled with more than 7,000 discounted from the final total.

Meet the candidates: Lea Trainer (UKIP)

Lea Trainer lives in Slough and is currently UKIP’s Berkshire, Slough and Windsor chairman.

Lea Trainer
Lea Trainer

He was in the Royal Navy as a leading seaman mine warfare specialist and, after leaving, he ran a business with his wife.

He now teaches vulnerable children and young adults who have additional emotional, educational and behavioural needs. 

Mr Trainer says he would bring back the old-style bobby on the beat, put the needs of the police and victims above those of criminals, and ensure zero tolerance in anti-social behaviour hot spots.

Meet the candidates: Anthony Stansfeld (Conservative)

Anthony Stansfeld is the current Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for the Thames Valley, having been elected in 2012.

Anthony Stansfeld
Anthony Stansfeld

He lives in West Berkshire and served with the Army before running his own small aircraft company.

He was a member of the Thames Valley Police Authority, which was disbanded in 2012.

His biggest priority in the first PCC election campaign was to reduce rural crime and improve detection rates for burglary, and now he wants the police to focus on child sexual exploitation, domestic violence and cyber-crime.

Thames Valley Police: Facts and figures

  • The budget for Thames Valley Police for 2016-17 is more than £380m
  • The force has made savings of more than £75m over the last five years
  • In 2016-17 it will have a full staff compliment of 7,132
  • Just under 4,000 of those are police officers, the rest are back office staff and PCSOs
  • In 2017-18 they expect to have just under 100 fewer frontline officers. That number is expected to remain unchanged for 2018, 2019 and 2020

Meet the candidates: Laetisia Carter (Labour)

Laetisia Carter lives in Chipping Norton and represents the town as a Labour district councillor. 

Laetisia Carter
Laetisia Carter

She worked for four years for Thames Valley Police as a community liaison officer, and then worked for Her Majesty’s Court Service delivering a project to improve engagement between courts and communities.

Mrs Carter currently works for the NHS, commissioning projects to improve mental health services.

If elected she says she will challenge the cuts to front-line policing, increase accountability and reduce bureaucracy, and ensure that communities have a stronger voice in guiding her priorities.

Meet the candidates: John Howson (Liberal Democrats)

John Howson has been a magistrate in Oxford for more than 20 years and served as the national deputy chair of the Magistrates Association.

John Howson
John Howson

He's been a teacher in London and a lecturer in Oxford, before becoming a civil servant and an Oxfordshire county councillor in 2013.

Mr Howson wants schools to stop excluding pupils in years 10 and 11 as he says this puts them at high risk of turning to a life of crime.

He says the force needs to do more to tackle domestic violence and child sexual exploitation, and should run police surgeries and drop-in sessions at places like libraries and schools rather than operate police counters.

What does a Police and Crime Commissioner do?

Bethan Phillips

Political reporter, BBC Radio Oxford

Being a Police and Crime Commissioner involves:

  • Holding the chief constable to account for policing
  • Scrutinising, supporting and challenging the force's performance
  • Setting the force budget and policing precept element of the council tax
  • Commissioning services and awarding grants
  • Appointing and, where necessary, dismissing the chief constable

First Police and Crime Commissioner elections held in 2012

In 2012 people went to the polls to elect Police and Crime Commissioners for the first time after they were introduced by the coalition government.

Polling station
Getty Images

They replaced the previous model of police authorities in England and Wales.

The Conservatives gained the most PCCs, with 16, followed by Labour with 13. The remaining 12 were independents.  

Tory candidate Anthony Stansfeld was elected in the Thames Valley and is running for re-election this time around.

Welcome to our coverage of the Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner debates

Joe Nimmo

BBC News Online

Today BBC Radio Oxford and BBC Radio Berkshire will be broadcasting debates, recorded last week, with the four candidates standing to be the Police and Crime Commissioner for the Thames Valley.

We will be bringing you profiles of the candidates, information about the force and, from 09:00, we will have highlights of both debates hosted by presenters Andrew Peach and David Prever.