On Thursday 6 May, the election of Bedfordshire’s new Police and Crime Commissioner will take place to choose Kathryn Holloway’s replacement.
The 2020 election was postponed due to the global pandemic, meaning that PCC Holloway has remained in post for an additional year.
There are five candidates standing for election, three representing political parties and two independents.
Festus Akinbusoye – Conservatives
Mr Akinbusoye recently served as a special constable for Bedfordshire Police and volunteers for a number of organisations. He is a former parish councillor and runs his own security business.
Patrick Hamill – Independent
An Independent councillor for Central Bedfordshire Council, Mr Hamill formerly stood as a UKIP candidate. He currently sits on the development management committee and the Houghton Regis town partnership committee.
David Michael MBE – Labour
Mr Michael had a 30-year career in policing and reached the rank of detective chief inspector while at the Metropolitan Police. He worked closely with Stephen Lawrence’s family and supported a public inquiry into the Met’s handling of Stephen’s murder.
Jas Parmar – Liberal Democrats
Mr Parmar is a former Metropolitan Police officer and runs a post office in Kempston. He is a former Borough councillor and for the last four years, he has been a volunteer for the Independent Advisory Group to Bedfordshire Police.
Antonio Vitiello, English Democrats (no image available)
Mr Vitiello lives in Leighton Buzzard and previously stood in Buckingham as the English Democrats’ candidate in the 2019 general election.
Hear from the candidates
**These hustings have been postponed as a mark of respect for Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. A new date us yet to be confirmed**
To kick off our coverage of the election, the Bedford Independent will be live streaming the first online husting on Friday 9 April at 6pm.
The husting has been organised by the Queens Park Community Organisation (QPCO) and will be the first opportunity that each of the candidates has had to address specific issues.
The theme of the event is ‘policing in the current climate’, particularly in light of the new Police and Crime bill and the policing of protests.
Marie-Ange Comerford-Raillon, secretary of QPCO, said: “We have organised this husting to give a voice to our community, in particular to those who may not otherwise be heard.
“The coronavirus pandemic has limited access to the candidates and we think it’s important for everyone to have a chance to understand who they are voting for.
“The police play a vital role in all our lives and ensuring all communities have confidence in their ability to keep us safe is crucial.
“Our organisation supports many people within the BAME community, as well as women – many of whom are vulnerable.
“It’s understandable that recent headlines may have shaken the public’s faith in the force. We want this husting to be a chance for candidates to be quizzed on their own approach and to set out their own values and vision.”
It’s free to attend the event but you will need to register for tickets. Tickets can be booked here.
If you would like to ask the candidates a question at the event, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Update: Antonio Vitiello has been added to the list of candidates. This article was updated on 14 April at 08:59 to reflect this.
- Update: Mariam Yasdani had intended to run as an independent candidate but has since decided not to participate. The hustings have also been postponed by the orgnisers. This article was updated on 10 April at 15:11 to reflect this.