Police and Crime Commissioner election: Mini-manifestos

May 05 2021
Police and Crime Commissioner election: Mini-manifestos

The Voice asked the candidates in the Police and Crime Commissioner election to sum up their manifesto pledges in 100 words.

VOTERS living in South Gloucestershire will joine residents of Bristol, B&NES, Somerset and North Somerset to elect the next Avon and Somerset Police & Crime Commissioner on May 6.

The PCC is responsible for the effective policing of the region, drawing up a budget – including the annual precept charged to council tax payers – setting priorities for the force through a police and crime plan and holding the chief constable and officers to account for delivering it.

Current commissioner Sue Mountstevens, an independent, is standing down from the position, which she has held since 2012.

The election had been due to take place last year but was delayed because of the lockdown. It is being contested by four party-political candidates and an independent.

As they prepare to face the voters, the Voice has asked each candidate in the election to send us a 100-word manifesto explaining their priorities, plus a 20-word biography to introduce themselves.

They appear here in alphabetical order, as they will be on ballot papers.


Kerry Barker, Labour

As a barrister I dealt with difficult cases of abuse and sexual assaults and know changes have reduced police effectiveness.

The police are meant to prevent crimes and catch criminals. Across the area the detection rates for crimes which affect ordinary people (burglaries, robberies, thefts, criminal damage and violent and sexual offences) are dreadful.

There has been a massive increase in violent and sexual crime since 2012 when the PCC was first elected.

If elected, I will:

Improve neighbourhood policing with more police officers on the beat in your area;

Stop the closure of police stations;

Reinstate specialist teams of detectives.

At the heart of those priorities will be the safety and welfare of all women.


Cleo Lake, Green

Cleo is a Bristol city councillor, former Lord Mayor, Avon Fire Authority member and former chair of St Pauls Carnival 

With communities for communities.

Active democracy is important to me. I will ensure a mechanism for communities to feed into the police and crime plan ahead of it being finalised in March 2022.

Community outreach and engagement work would be central to my forward facing transparent approach, which I would prioritise over being sat behind a desk at Portishead HQ, for example.

I would support the Independent Advisory Groups as another layer of public scrutiny and consensus building. I would also require senior commanders to give a monthly verbal update at public meetings in each local or district authority area.


Heather Shearer, Liberal Democrat

As vice chair of the Police and Crime Panel I scrutinise the PCC’s work and fight for what people want.

Everyone should feel safe. In 2019-20 1.8m crimes went unsolved nationally. If you call the police, you want something done. People think there is no point in reporting a crime.

Just 1 in 10 burglaries are solved in our area. Most burglars have done it before and will again. We have to break that cycle of crime.

Every three days a woman is killed by their partner but only 10% of abusers are successfully prosecuted. I want to stop abuse before it gets dangerous, prevent domestic abuse and support all victims of sexual violence, both men and women.


Mark Shelford, Conservative 

Brought up just outside Bath, spent over 30 years in the Army, Deputy Leader BATHNES, a member of the PCP.

Return to Peelian principles of preventing crime.

Reassure residents that the Police are there for them. This means more visible Policing, includes a plan for women’s safety, making the Community more resilient and resistant to crime.

Revitalising Neighbourhoods with Specials who live and work in their community.

Refocus the Police on fighting the crimes that the residents are most concerned with: County Lines, associated violence and burglaries, dangerous driving, ASB and the silent crimes of cyber fraud and domestic abuse.

Rebuild the Force by making them more effective and efficient, reducing their admin, allowing them to be more proactive.


John Smith, Independent 

Deputy PCC and ran the PCC’s office for 8 years. His independence makes him the best choice for local residents.

John Smith, former Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for Avon and Somerset, is standing as an independent candidate. If elected, he’ll keep the party politics out of policing, answering only to residents, not party bosses in Westminster.

John’s priorities: supporting the police to enforce COVID-19 regulations appropriately; tackling knife and drug crime, including county lines; catching burglars and reducing burglaries; combating anti-social behaviour; protecting the vulnerable and supporting victims; the most inclusive police force in the country; improving road safety; preventing fraud and cyber crime; addressing rural crime and supporting rural communities; working in partnership to address business crime.

What happened last time

The police and crime commissioner election has been held twice, in 2012 and 2016.

On each occasion the election was won by independent Sue Mountstevens, who is standing down from the role this year.

In 2012 the Conservatives were second but in 2016, Labour's Kerry Barker, who is standing again this year, was runner-up.

Ms Mountstevens received 26.1% (82,708) of the first-round votes while Mr Barker received 23.8% (75,538). None of the other five candidates recived more than 20% of the vote - the closest was Conservative Mark Weston, who recived 19.3%. Ms Mountstevens then received 35,839 second-preference votes, while Mr Barker received 25,027.

In total, just over 60,000 voters whose first choice was eliminated cast their second-choice vote for one of the candidates in the second round. The other 98,000 either voted for another candidate who had been eliminated or did not cast a second-preference vote.