Meet the candidates for police and crime commissioner

VOTERS are being asked to decide who sets the priorities and appoints the chief constable of Avon & Somerset police.

On May 2, elections will be held to vote for the next Avon & Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner, or PCC.

Coming with a salary of £88,600, the PCC’s role is to oversee the force, ensuring it is “efficient and effective”

The PCC’s powers include:

• Hiring and firing the chief constable, and holding them to account for running the force

• Setting objectives for the area through a police and crime plan

• Setting the budget and determining the precept charge paid by council tax payers

• Contributing to national and international policing capabilities

• Bringing together community safety and criminal justice partners, to ‘join up’ local priorities.

• Funding crime prevention services

The current PCC is Conservative Mark Sheldon, who was elected to the role in 2021, in an election postponed from 2020 because of the pandemic.

He took over from independent Sue Mountstevens, who stepped down after being in the post since it was created in 2012.

Nominations for the PCC opened on March 18 and will close at 4pm on April 5.

So far three of the main political parties have announced candidates. The Voice has asked them to send a short biography and manifesto to outline their priorities.

They appear below in alphabetical order:

Benet Allen (Liberal Democrats)

Born in Taunton, has worked in TV news and for a coach company. Former deputy leader of Somerset West and Taunton Council, male voice choir singer and hospital charity fundraiser.

The Lib Dem plan for the police:

• Make policing more visible and community-orientated

• Increase prosecution rates for serious and violent crime

• Help police to work with integrity and without discrimination

• Focus on ‘broken windows’ – small crimes that damage confidence and trust

• Predict and provide policing to help tackle rural crime as well as urban crime

• Help make sure offenders don’t do it again – most want to ‘go straight 

Clare Moody (Labour)

Clare brings rich experience, from her current role as CEO of a charity to her time spent working in No 10. She previously represented our region as an MEP.

Investing in neighbourhood policing – to build safer communities and help prevent and solve crime. 

Supporting victims of crime – making sure victims are properly listened to, and get the help they need when they need it.

Prioritising reducing violent crime – The scale of violent crime, including knife crime and violence against women and girls, isn’t inevitable but it needs focus and commitment to fix it.

Preventing crime – work with agencies across the public sector and civil society to prevent crime and build safer communities.

Restoring trust and confidence in the police – enabling the police to take pride in high standards.

Mark Shelford (Conservative)

Mark has over 35 years of experience of serving our country in the military and local government and has been your PCC since 2021. Resides in Bath with his family.

When elected, Mark pledged more police, a focus on tackling serious crime and to represent every community when holding the police to account. He has delivered. The constabulary has trained over 1,500 new officers, is the best force for illegal drug disruptions and has seen a 300% increase in rape cases reaching court by designing a nationally acclaimed investigation model. He appointed a courageous Chief Constable determined to restore trust in policing.

Mark will prioritise crime prevention, tackling anti-social behaviour and violence against women. He remains committed to reducing re-offending, supporting skills programmes for prisoners and ensuring victims get support.

Green Party
The Green Party had not announced its candidate as the Voice went to print – details will appear in the May edition.

A party spokesperson said: “The Green Party candidate for ASPCC will prioritise prevention of crime, working with schools, families and the young people who are both perpetrators and victims, with a special focus on knife violence in cities.

“We have seen recently in this region how much work still needs to be done to improve culture inside the police force.

“A Green ASPCC will strengthen the independence and accountability of misconduct panels, while building recognition of the integrity of the vast majority of officers. We will ensure Avon and Somerset Police get closer to and regain the trust of the communities they serve.”

For more information visit the website

Council elections
Elections for the 70 seats on Bristol City Council also take place on May 2.

Nominations close on Friday April 5.

The deadline to register to vote for these elections is midnight on Tuesday April 16.

The deadline to apply for a new postal vote, or to change an existing postal vote is 5pm on Wednesday April 17.

On May 2, polling stations will be open from 7am to 10pm.

Voters will be asked to show photo ID before casting their vote.