Ex-detective is Lib Dem police role candidate
A retired police officer has been chosen to represent the Liberal Democrats in the battle to become the new chief commissioner.
Former Detective Chief Inspector Brian Blake served with Devon and Cornwall Police for 31 years, and now he has pledged that he would not politicise the role if he is voted in during November's elections.
The move to replace little-known police authorities with a single American-style figurehead has proved controversial, not least because of concerns that party politics could influence decisions with far-reaching implications.
The Lib Dems in Devon and Cornwall have put up a candidate despite the national party's opposition to the role.
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But Mr Blake, 65, who lives in Yealmpton, South Devon, said he felt he could make a difference, and said: "I don't see it as a political role. It's about representing all people in Devon and Cornwall who will be telling the commissioner what they want from their police force. It will be up to the winning candidate to deliver."
The new commissioner will have to swear an oath to be impartial, and Mr Blake said "robust" safeguards were in place, such as a police and crime panel which will act as watchdog to the £85,000-a-year post.
Mr Blake, who worked in personnel vetting for the MOD and NATO after he retired from the police force, said he favoured a return to "bobbies on the beat", and an emphasis on partnership working to reduce crime in communities.
Mr Blake, who twice unsuccessfully stood as the Lib Dem candidate for South Hams District Council after his retirement, said: "I do have the experience of doing the job, and therefore I can see where it isn't balanced correctly."
The Police Commissioner will have control over the budget and the power to hire and fire the chief constable, but will play no part in operational policing.
Mr Blake will face competition from Brian Greenslade, former leader of Devon County Council, who has opted to stand as an independent.
Meanwhile, former Lib Dem Devon County councillor John Smith – who resigned from the party two years ago – has also put forward his name as an independent.
Former naval base commander Tony Hogg has secured the Conservative Party nomination, while Plymouth councillor Nicky Williams will contest the election for Labour.