A ROW has broken out between the most high-profile candidates in the race to become Humberside’s first ever crime commissioner on the eve of the elections, over their financial competence to run the area’s police force.
Godfrey Bloom, the UKIP MEP for Yorkshire, has claimed his main rival, Lord Prescott, would “bankrupt” Humberside Police in his four-year term if elected, and criticised his record in power while deputy prime minister.
Firing back, however, Lord Prescott cited a Financial Services Authority (FSA) fine of a York-based investment firm Mr Bloom was previously a director of, claiming he did not need to take his advice.
Mr Bloom was a director of TBO Investments Limited from the 1990s until 2004, but in 2008 it was fined £28,000 by the FSA for “failing to clearly document the explanation of the risks of transactions to clients” between December 2001 and October 2007.
The MEP told the Yorkshire Post the fine was as a result of a change in the firm’s records, long after he had left.
“At the moment Humberside Police balances its budgets and from a budgetary perspective is extremely sound,” he added.
“In four years time, it could be broke. Lord Prescott will bankrupt them like he bankrupted everything else.
“There is enormous hostility towards Lord Prescott and his record is one of the reasons.
“This is a very important job and a big budget.
“It is impossible to call.”
When contacted by the Yorkshire Post, Lord Prescott, the MP for Hull East from 1970 to 2010, said: “I have been busy spending my day talking to victims of crime in Grimsby and Scunthorpe and finding out what are the real issues that matter to people.
“I’m not going to take any lessons from a man whose financial company was fined £28,000 by the FSA.”
Referring to the FSA fine, Scott Robinson, the current managing director of TBO investments which is now winding down, said: “It was simply an administration matter which has long been rectified”.
He added no clients were ever affected by the “historic” issue.
The election race in Humberside has proved to be increasingly fractious between its high-profile candidates, with Conservative Matthew Grove branding Mr Bloom a “dinosaur” in September after he requested he stand down to improve his chances of beating Lord Prescott.
Tomorrow, 41 new crime commissioners will be elected across England and Wales, with the powers to hire and fire chief constables and set police budgets.