Rivals outline their plans for fighting crime in Notts
MORE police need to be out of their cars and offices and on the streets, say the candidates battling to become Notts' Police and Crime Commissioner.
The four people standing for the powerful new role went face-to-face at Nottingham Trent University last night.
About 150 members of the public turned up to hear where the candidates stood on key issues 10 days before Notts people go to the polls.
The November 15 election will decide on the first commissioner for the county and effectively scrap Notts Police Authority.
The commissioner will set Notts Police's crime-fighting targets and budgets.
Last night's event, planned by the university's School of Social Sciences, was chaired by the Post.
How to increase the amount of time police spend on the beat was top of the agenda discussed by Conservative candidate Tony Roberts, Labour's Paddy Tipping and independents Dr Raj Chandran and Malcolm Spencer.
Mr Spencer, a former police officer, said: "In my 30 years as a police officer, I saw the way policing changed – it's become more vehicle-focused.
"Some police officers have lost the art of communication.
"I'd cut bureaucracy; after some arrests it changed from filling in three forms to now, I think, there are something like 33 forms."
He said more needed to be done to make sure young people trusted the force.
Dr Chandran said: "When you saw a police officer in the past, it was warm and comforting. When you see one now, it's different – you don't know who the officer is and where he is going."
But Mr Roberts cautioned: "Running a police force in the 21st century is not about Heartbeat (the TV series) – the world has changed and moved on."
The four candidates also debated what impact a small turn-out for the election would have on the strength of the role, with some experts predicting as few as one in ten people in Notts would vote next Thursday. But Mr Tipping said: "There are about 800,000 voters in Notts and if you get 10 per cent that's 80,000 people – that's a bigger mandate than any other politician in Notts."
Mr Chandran said it would be the commissioner's job to make the relationship between police and the public better.
The £42m in cuts police are having to make were also discussed.
Mr Tipping said he would "unwind" the structure of senior officers to see if more cash could be put into the front line.
More effort would have to be made to find savings, Mr Roberts said.
Mr Spencer said: "We should push on with collaboration plans (sharing some services with other forces). There's a lot of wastage."
Dr Chandran said that if elected, he would use the £75,000 salary to pay for consultants to find efficiency savings.