Today’s Star columnist: David Blunkett MP

David Blunkett Brightside and Hillsborough MP urging voters to engage with Crime Commissioner election
David Blunkett Brightside and Hillsborough MP urging voters to engage with Crime Commissioner election
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In this six weekly column, I have endeavoured not to be party political but to try and get across the challenges and complexity of representing people in public life. Many will know where I stand in terms of who should take over the role of Police and Crime Commissioner, following the shocking revelations about events in Rotherham, going back almost two decades.

For many the notion of an elected Police and Crime Commissioner has always been controversial and there is no doubt that there will be many who think it not worth voting. But even though there are better ways of co-ordinating policing and crime prevention, as long as the post continues to exist it is vital the right person is in place, not least because he will be responsible for police spending priorities, and for ensuring resources are targeted where most needed.

The election is on October 30, and I am appealing to people of all persuasions to use their vote. The result will be crucial to how we move forward and draw a line under issues which continue to damage the motivation and morale of South Yorkshire Police.

The Commissioner must be able to command the respect of people across the political divide and those serving in the force - who deserve better than being tarred with the same brush as those who have let down the most vulnerable. Whoever we elect should be free from any involvement with the Police Authority or the police service itself.

The role demands someone with a proven record of public service, with the highest reputation and ability to build trust with South Yorkshire communities.

The job of the police is wide ranging - fromchildren at risk who have been failed by a range of professionals, from organised criminality through to anti-social behaviour, we want a police service that works in co-operation with us, and is rooted in the community.

The Commissioner, facing the eye-watering police budget cuts, will need sound experience of handling finance at the highest level, of budgeting and getting priorities right. It is unusual to find someone with such qualities, and yet who also has experience of life in the most deprived communities – but that is what we need.