MP backs parish priest for police job

Alan Billing and David Blunkett
Alan Billing and David Blunkett
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FORMER Home Secretary David Blunkett has thrown his weight behind one of the candidates hoping to land the new Police and Crime Commissioner role in South Yorkshire.

David Blunkett, MP for Brightside and Hillsborough, is backing Alan Billings for the top job.

Mr Billings was deputy leader of Sheffield City Council during the 1980s and is a parish priest as well as a former teacher. He is a member of the Youth Justice Board for England and Wales.

He is one of four names on the Labour Party shortlist of candidates for the role, which members will vote on later this month.

All political parties have the option of putting forward candidates for the job, which will see one person replacing the county’s Police Authority, which oversees the way South Yorkshire Police is run, funded and performs.

Mr Blunkett said: “As a former Home Secretary, I am in a position to understand the role and importance that will be attached to the Police and Crime Commissioner for South Yorkshire.

“Having opposed the post, particularly in relation to the dangers of maverick or partisan political opportunism, I am keen the post should be filled by someone who can command respect and support, not only across South Yorkshire as a geographic entity, but across the political spectrum.

“Mr Billings is such a person. He has the experience, the local links, the detailed national engagement, an appreciation of the big issues.

“He also understands the way central and local government and a range of other agencies and voluntary organisations work.

“All these will be essential for doing the doing the job effectively.”