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Somerset village voices must be heard, says police commissioner candidate

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: July 30, 2012

Pete Levy, left, with Lib Dem Somerset group leader Sam Crabb

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New Liberal Democrat police commissioner candidate Pete Levy has said the voices of people in Somerset villages must not be drowned out by Bristol.

The former police officer and military man has been chosen as his party’s contender to be the first elected Avon & Somerset Police & Crime Commissioner (PCC) in November’s election.

He feels he understands both Avon and Somerset, which have markedly different policing priorities, and is stressing he is not a career politician.

In some parts of the country current and former MPs are dominating the contests, with figures such as ex-Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott standing.

Mr Levy is a councillor in the Horfield ward in Bristol, but only since May 2010, while he became a member of Avon & Somerset Police Authority the following month.

He was born in West Coker and raised as the eldest of five in the Yeovil area, becoming interested in politics after hearing Paddy Ashdown speak, when he was the town’s MP.

After a spell with the Wiltshire Constabulary, as a police cadet and then a police constable, before joining the Royal Military Police for six years, including several attachments with the Special Investigations Branch.

He has held senior positions with national security organisations, and spent 15 years working in international corporate and broadcast production. Mr Levy believes his police, military and communications background gives him the experience to do the job.

The Lib Dems, like Labour, originally opposed the idea of elected police commissioners, and he says: “We made our views known, but it has become legislation and we can’t turn it back.”

Mr Levy was worried about the cost of switching to the new system, and there was also the issue of representing both Avon and Somerset.

“How would someone in Bristol understand the police requirements in Ilminster, and vice versa? There are some people who think Avon & Somerset is just another way to spell Bristol.”

Mr Levy was also influenced by “listening to politicians talking nonsense” after last summer’s riots, and concerned they would try to win votes by promising to tell the police what to do.

“It is not part of the job to tell the chief constable what to do, but working with them, as they are the policing professionals.”

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  • UKIPMAN  |  August 02 2012, 6:52PM

    What a sad state of affairs! The Liberal Democrats finally throw their hat and by the looks of things their man into the ring for local Police Commissioner! So lets see what we have! Three Political stoogies! The latest having served as a policeman military and in civvy. Now a politican for the LibDEms. The second a ex labour councillor and failed Labour Parliamentary Candidate and finally yet another Politican and leader of the Tories on Somerset County Council. I wouldn't vote for any of them! I wouldn't trust them and think this whole exercise is a political gimmick. The LibDems and Labour Parties were both opposed so how on earth can anyone believe that they are nothing more than Political hacks trying to stop the Tory! Its another Government scambles. The voting will be very low and in Novembe, what idiot dreamt that one up? Does anyone seriously believe that a new Police commissioner will bring extra police onto our streets,Pigs might fly! tougher on crime, no chance, we have the European court of human rights to contend with. We can't (Home Office) even throw out a hate filled Islamic cleric out of this county, what chance a local Police commissioner to act! These people ain't doing it for love it will cost a lot of money and extra staff!...You the Counciltaxpayer will be paying that and for what, Not a single extra policeman on the beat! Mr Levy (LibDem) claims villages won't be ignored, joke, is he suggesting bringing back the local village bobby thats been missing for the last 20 plus years? No way! Here in Wincanton, we have only a local beat officer and a couple of PSO. The regular Police have been moved back to Somerton. The only time you see a policeman now is if they drive down the High street. Even Parking offences have been removed from them. It's not the Chief constables fault they have to work with what they are given. Are our three caped crusader hero Commissioners going to bring Police levels back up to strength and what will that cost us Counciltaxpayers facing a triple dip recession? If someone stands as an Independent who has no Political affliation and has some sensible ideas that are realitic and affordable then I might vote. But for this lot we've been offered no chance. And I would urge other readers to take the same stance.