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Sussex police chief hopefuls quizzed
The first shots have been fired in the battle to become the first Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner.
At a meeting in Lewes on Friday, an audience of community groups and volunteers quizzed three of the leading candidates for the directly-elected £85,000-a-year job running Sussex Police.
Panel members’ plans included more police savings, a crackdown on pubs serving drunks and for domestic violence to be a police priority.
It was understood to be the first time a panel of hopefuls has gone before an audience.
Conservative Katy Bourne, Labour’s Godfrey Daniel and Independent Ian Chisnall spent Friday afternoon speaking to voluntary and community groups from across the county at a SpeakUp Forum meeting organised by charity 3VA.
They were then subjected to a question-and-answer session at the offices of Sussex Police Authority – the body being replaced by the police and crime commissioner under the major reform of police oversight.
No other candidates were present at the meeting. Nominations do not open until next month, before elections on November 15.
Roedean-educated Coun Bourne, who sits on Mid Sussex District Council , said she wanted dealing with domestic violence to be part of the basic training of officers.
She said she believed in work to prevent crime happening in the first place and said despite large-scale funding cuts it would be possible to get things done.
Coun Bourne called for stable funding for alcohol services. She said she did not believe people on benefits would have to turn to crime to get by, saying: “These are difficult times. We all live with constrained budgets at home.”
Coun Daniel, who sits on East Sussex County Council, Hastings Borough Council and Sussex Police Authority, said he would invest in staff to prosecute pubs selling drink to people who are already drunk.
He said he would sell Slaugham Manor, the police’s training and conferencing centre, and spend the money on body-worn video cameras for all officers.
Mr Chisnall, a street pastor and community activist from Brighton, said he would make domestic violence a priority.
He said people would be turned out onto the streets under changes to the benefits system.
He said the job should be done by an independent person, rather than someone from a political party.
Sussex Association of Local Councils is organising hustings events in Arundel Town Hall on Thursday, Heathfield Community Hall on October 1, Martlets Hall, Burgess HIll on October 2, and Battle Memorial Hall on October 5.