Former ‘drugs tsar’ wants to be region’s police commissioner

Former West Yorkshire Chief Constable Keith Hellawell at home in Huddersfield
Former West Yorkshire Chief Constable Keith Hellawell at home in Huddersfield
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Tony Blair’s former “drugs tsar”, Keith Hellawell, has revealed his desire to become one of Yorkshire’s first elected police commissioners as ex-Home Secretary David Blunkett ruled himself out.

Dr Hellawell wants to stand in West Yorkshire, where he served as Chief Constable during a long policing career, but held little hope of winning because he refuses to align with a political party.

He also held senior positions at Humberside and Cleveland Police before being asked to advise the Government on drugs policy. He quit in 2002 after Mr Blunkett announced plans to reclassify cannabis as a less dangerous drug.

Dr Hellawell, who has since forged a successful career in business, said he wanted to be a commissioner without being “encumbered or indebted to fulfil the aims of a political party”.

“The concern I would have is that to be selected by the public, and to secure the necessary exposure to the public, you really need a political party to support you,” he added.

“I have always remained apolitical because I think that is the role a chief constable should have, but by remaining apolitical I think it would be difficult to get the public’s support.”

Mr Blunkett was widely tipped to run for Labour in South Yorkshire, but said: “I think it would be deeply unwise for me to step down from Parliament and initiate a by-election in a seat which is subject to dramatic changes under Boundary Commission proposals.”

Elections will be held in November to find four commissioners to take over from police authorities.

Former Deputy Prime Minister Lord Prescott has also revealed he was considering running for the post in Humberside.

Time is running out for candidates seeking Labour nominations to register their interest, with applications due by February 17. The search for Tory contenders is set to continue until early March.

Lib Dems voted to have a “strong presumption” against putting up party members and will back independent candidates instead.