Bedfordshire PCC asks Bedfordians to vote for his track record

Festus Akinbusoye Image (c)Festus Akinbusoye
Festus Akinbusoye. Image: Festus Akinbusoye

Bedfordshire’s police and crime commissioner (PCC), Festus Akinbusoye, has said it’s “quite amazing” what he has achieved during his three years in the role.

He told the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS): “A lot of the progress that we’ve made as a police force did not just happen by accident.

“Someone had to make the strategic decision, support the chief constable, work with him to raise the money, lobby the government to get the money in, and scrutinise the delivery of those strategic decisions.

“And that person was me, supported by a fantastic office who are working extremely hard to hold the force to account and ensure things are being delivered.”

He listed as examples a “reduction of the overall crime rate” in Bedfordshire, a “big fall” in residential burglaries and an increase in community officers

“I’m really proud of the police force and my team for their support and I just want to be able to build on that progress if re-elected as police and crime commissioner,” he said.

The LDRS asked if the PCC was asking people to vote for a Conservative PCC, or for him and his record in the role.

“I think for the role of a police and crime commissioner people actually look at the person more than they look at the political party,” he said.

“I’ve got a track record of actually getting things done, of delivering for local people.

“There are still areas to improve, of course, and I get that. But I think we’ve got a good foundation now that I can build on if I’m re-elected as a police and crime commissioner on May 2.”

The PCC was asked why he wasn’t standing as an independent if he wanted people to vote on his track record.

“An independent candidate is not in a registered political party, but they are political, they are in a political space,” the PCC said.

“Just because you don’t nail your colours to a political party does not mean you are apolitical.

“That is one of the biggest misnomers in British politics, in my opinion.

“This concept that because someone is an independent that they’re not aligned to a political party, that they’re not aligned to some kind of a political ideology or they are politically unlined is just for the birds.

“There are people who are in a political party, who do not base everything that they do on party politics.

“I strongly believe that it is possible to be a member of a political party and not be party political in everything that you do.

“You can be independently-minded, you can disagree with your political party on occasions, you can advocate for things that other people are talking about even if it’s not necessarily directly aligned within your political party says.

“That is the beauty of democracy.

“So I do not buy the argument that by being an Independent somehow you are much more independent of party politics or political biases or political influence, I think some people just use that as a shroud,” he said.

By John Guinn
Local Democracy Reporter