The people of Sussex go to the polls today to choose their next Police and Crime Commissioner.

The vote will run alongside local elections in Crawley, Adur & Worthing and Hastings.

The Association of Police and Crime Commissioners said the role was to ‘be the voice of the people and hold the police to account’

PCCs must:

  • secure efficient and effective police for their area.
  • appoint the Chief Constable, hold them to account for running the force, and if necessary, dismiss them.
  • set the police and crime objectives for their area through a police and crime plan;
  • set the force budget and determine the precept;
  • contribute to the national and international policing capabilities set out by the Home Secretary; and
  • bring together community safety and criminal justice partners, to make sure local priorities are joined up.

Sussex has four candidates.

Jamie Bennett (Lib Dem)

“The men and women who serve in our police and emergency services do an incredible job working to keep us safe. But they, and the public they serve, are being let down by the Conservatives.

“The Conservatives have taken people in our county for granted for far too long, especially people living in rural areas who rarely see a police officer any more.

“We need to reduce wasteful Police and Crime Commissioner spending and use that money on the front-line.

“We need to increase Police numbers to keep our towns and villages safe.

“We need to be working with local agencies and organisations to help improve crime prevention, so people are kept safe in our area.

“It’s time we did things differently.

“Across Sussex more and more people are saying they know only the Liberal Democrats can beat the Conservatives so please consider lending me your vote on May 2nd.”

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Katy Bourne (Conservative)

“My plan to cut crime – more police, safer streets.

“Continue cutting crime, catching criminals, fighting drugs gangs, county lines and serious violence and reducing re-offending – making everyone Safer in Sussex.

“Make policing visible, especially in our towns and villages, and tackle anti-social behaviour by increasing the number of Hotspot Patrols.

“More investment into Roads Policing – a) establish a ‘Fatal Five Roads Unit’ to tackle anti-social driving, speeding and save lives b) drive the Vision Zero approach by chairing the Sussex Safer Roads Partnership with the aim of cutting fatal and serious collisions by half by 2035.

“Make shops and businesses safer places to work and visit – a) introduce electronic tagging for prolific shoplifters b) further improve the police response to shoplifting and encourage more retailers to report c) continue support through our Safer Sussex Business Partnership.

“Give our Rural Crime Team more tech capability.

“Support victims of crime, especially our elderly and young, and protect our vulnerable from all forms of abuse – continue introducing innovation to keep women and girls safe in our public spaces.”

Jonathan Kent (Green)

Jonathan grew up and lives in Ticehurst in Sussex and went to local state schools before reading philosophy and theology at Oxford.

As a former journalist and foreign correspondent, he campaigned on issues including human rights, miscarriages of justice, the treatment of migrant workers and sex trafficking.

He said: “People are really struggling at the moment – the NHS, schools, transport and the other services we rely on have been run down, the cost of living is rising and incomes aren’t stretching as far as they used to.

“Wildlife and nature are struggling too. Our beaches and rivers are polluted, habitats are being destroyed. At the same time countries that should be finding ways to work together to stop our climate spinning out of control are increasingly in conflict with one another instead.

“It doesn’t have to be this way. Greens believe that the answer lies in working together across social divides and party lines to build a Britain and a future in which everyone matters.”

Paul Richards (Labour)

“Ask anyone: the criminal justice system is broken. Witnesses are scared to come forward. Victims are denied justice. All too often police never come. And muggers, robbers, looters, and organised crime gangs get away with it.

“The Conservatives’ decision to cut 20,000 police was a huge mistake and we’ve paid the price ever since. No wonder nine in ten crimes goes unsolved.

“Sunak’s candidate in Sussex will tell you it’s all going fine. I’m saying it’s time for change.

“More police in neighbourhood teams. More support for victims of crime. More activities for young people.

“An end to looting from shops. Knives off the streets. Action on rural crime. A war on antisocial behaviour.

“These are things a Labour & Co-operative police and crime commissioner can deliver.

“In Sussex it’s a two-horse race between Sunak’s candidate and the local Labour candidate. That’s why I’m asking you to lend me your vote this time to send Sunak a signal.

“It’s time for change.”