Ipswich: Hopefuls for police and crime commissioner role to take part in debate

HOPEFULS for a new police and crime role will go head-to-head at a special debate in Ipswich next week.

Labour candidate Jane Basham, right, the Conservative’s Tim Passmore, below and David Cocks, an independent, are in the running to be Suffolk’s first Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC).

The commissioner role, subject of elections on November 15, will be tasked with scrutinising Suffolk police and setting the force’s budget.

Mrs Basham and Mr Passmore will speak at a Question Time-style event organised by the charity Victim Support at Ipswich Central Library. Mr Cocks is unable to attend the debate – scheduled for 4pm on Monday, October 15 – but a statement will be read on his behalf.

Javed Khan, chief executive of Victim Support, who will chair the event, said: “Anyone can be the victim of crime and with big changes coming for the help on offer we’re encouraging local people to come along and grill their PCC candidates on what they’ll do for victims.

“This public debate will also be an opportunity for people to find out if their candidates have signed up to our five promises to victims and how they will put them into practice.”

A charity spokesman said: “PCCs will soon be responsible for organising and funding local services for victims of crime. They will be free to offer as much or as little support for victims as they want. This means that there will be no safeguards or guarantees of help for victims once PCCs are in post. As a result, some victims could lose out and be left to cope with the impact of crime on their own.”

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Steve, a robbery victim from Suffolk, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “After I was mugged, I felt anxious about going out and scared to walk home from work. I stopped meeting friends and going to evening classes.

“Victim Support helped me get through it with by giving me someone to talk to, helping with the insurance claim, and providing a personal alarm. I am not sure how I would have coped or whether I would have been able to keep working without that support.

“I think everyone should get along to the meeting and find out how the candidates would treat victims and witnesses.”