To kick off our coverage of the election of Bedfordshire Police’s new Police and Crime Commissioner, the Bedford Independent will be live streaming the first online husting this Friday (16 April).
The husting has been organised by the Queens Park Community Organisation (QPCO) and will be the first opportunity that the candidates have had to address specific issues.
It will take place at 5pm and has been rescheduled from Friday 9 April following the announcement of the death of HRH the Duke of Edinburgh.
Unfortunately, due to work commitments, Independent candidate, Patrick Hamill will not be able to attend the rescheduled event.
Policing in the current climate
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.
The Police and Crime Commissioner election takes place on 6 May.
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.”
Tickets to attend the virtual event are now fully booked, but you will be able to watch a live stream on the Bedford Independent Facebook page from 5pm on Friday 16 April.
Anyone who had tickets to the original event will have been resent new details.
There is still time to ask the candidates a question at the event. If you have a question you can submit it by email to email@example.com.
There are five candidates standing for election, four representing political parties and one independent.
Last Friday, Independent candidate, Mariam Yasdani stood down from the election. The latest addition to the ballot sheet is Antonio Vitiello who is the English Democrats’ candidate.
Festus Akinbusoye – Conservative Bedfordshire PCC Candidate 2021
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 Bedfordshire PCC Candidate 2021
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 Bedfordshire PCC Candidate 2021
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 Democrat Bedfordshire PCC Candidate 2021
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.