Town councillor misses out on top cop role

Councillor Jonathan Brash
Councillor Jonathan Brash

A HARTLEPOOL councillor has missed out on the opportunity to run as Labour’s candidate for a top police role.

Councillor Jonathan Brash was beaten in the election by Middlesbrough rival Barry Coppinger to be the party candidate for the Police and Crime Commissioner role in Cleveland.

The pair were battling it out to stand in the November 15 election for the powerful position with Cleveland Police.

But after a postal ballot of all Labour members in the area it was confirmed Coun Brash had secured just 157 votes, compared to Coun Coppinger’s 523 votes.

Coun Brash, who represents the Burn Valley ward, said: “I would like to offer my warmest congratulations to Barry on his selection as Labour’s candidate for the forthcoming Police and Crime Commissioner election.

“I spoke to him personally on Sunday night to wish him well and I know he will do a fantastic job for the people of Cleveland.

“It was a well fought and enjoyable campaign, which gave me the opportunity to connect with party members from across our area and I would like to thank all those who supported me.

“Our front-line police officers are under attack from this coalition government and as a party we must unite behind Barry Coppinger to ensure that we have the strongest possible Labour representation, to both stand up to this vicious and discredited Con-Dem Government and protect the residents of Cleveland.”

It comes just weeks after Coun Brash was shunned by fellow party members in his home town.

Speaking at the time, Coun Brash said he was “disappointed and saddened” that members of the Hartlepool Constituency Labour Party (CLP) had endorsed his rival from Middlesbrough.

Edwin Jeffries, president of Hartlepool CLP, said the general management committee heard presentations from both candidates, but felt Coun Coppinger’s experience of the police service across Cleveland meant he was best placed to “hit the floor running”.

The new Police and Crime Commissioners will replace police authorities and have the power to appoint chief constables and to call on them to retire or resign.

The role is expected to pay around £65,000.

Responsibilities include holding the chief constable to account, setting the police precept and budget and producing a police and crime plan.

Police and crime panels, made up of councillors, will hold the commissioner to account and contribute to the policing plan and to the plans for spending on police services.​