Prescott takes to the road to launch police commissioner bid

LORD Prescott has launched his bid to become Humberside police and crime commissioner by asking the public to join him on his election bus to help formulate a plan of action.

The former deputy prime minister will be Labour’s candidate to be the commissioner for the Humberside force at the election in November.

He tried out his new “mobile consultation surgery” today - a large people carrier which he will use to tour the region and consult with the public.

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Speaking at the launch in Hull, Lord Prescott said: “This is one way I can go into every area and be seen, discuss with them in the van itself - I’ve got seats to do that - and help me formulate a plan that belongs to them and which I will implement if I’m elected.”

He said he thought the current Humberside Police Authority was implementing Government-imposed cuts too vigorously, meaning too many front line police were being lost.

“I’d prefer to slow the process down and look at the finances and not have to get rid of 400 police,” he said.

“It may be some have to go but, really, people like the police on the beat and I want to keep as many of them there as possible.”

Lord Prescott, 74, was MP for Hull East from 1970 to 2010 but he said this was always a safe Labour seat.

This fight, he said, was in what was a Conservative marginal, overall.

“I hope people know me,” he said. “I’ve been around for a long time.

“I hope they’ll think I’m a reasonably independent-minded man who will always do what I think is right, even if they don’t think it’s right.

“But it would be on their plan and I will implement it.”

Lord Prescott, who has the highest profile of anyone who has declared candidacy for one of the new police commissioner roles, said the new commissioners should help prevent some of the police failures which followed the Hillsborough disaster happening again.

He said he was “absolutely appalled” by what he heard from the Hillsborough Independent Panel and said: “We’ll now be judged on whether we’re going to deal with these forces in a more effective way, and it’s not before time.

“And I might say, I think a PCC might be an another interesting way of holding some of our police to account when, at the moment, they don’t appear to be.”

The deadline for nominations is not until next month but a number of other people have also expressed their intention to run in the Humberside contest.

These are: MEP Godfrey Bloom (Ukip), Hull city councillor Simone Butterworth (Lib Dem), former senior police officer Paul Davison (Independent), project manager Neil Eyre (Independent), East Riding councillor Matthew Grove (Conservative) and former Tory MP Walter Sweeney (Independent).