Councillor on police shortlist

Jonathon Brash.
Jonathon Brash.

A HARTLEPOOL councillor has been named on a two-man shortlist to run as Labour’s candidate for the Police and Crime Commissioner role in Cleveland.

Labour councillor Jonathan Brash is battling it out with Middlesbrough councillor Barry Coppinger to stand for Labour in the November 15 election for the powerful position with Cleveland Police.

Coun Brash said he was very proud to be shortlisted and said it is important Hartlepool is represented.

There will now be a postal ballot of all Labour party members in the Cleveland Police force area before the successful candidate is announced at the end of the summer.

Coun Brash, who was re-elected on Thursday to serve the Burn Valley ward for the next four years, said: “I am really proud to have been shortlisted.

“But it is very early days and there is a long way to go.

“Crime and anti-social behaviour are issues in Hartlepool and it is important that the town is represented and has a voice.

“Should I get the nomination then Hartlepool will have a strong voice.”

Interested parties put themselves forward to be considered by Labour’s National Executive Committee before they were narrowed down to the two-man shortlist by a regional selection board.

Coun Brash said he applied several months ago and was interviewed as part of the process.

He added: “My first priority will always be my work as a councillor but I will certainly be talking to Labour members across Cleveland.”

Coun Brash said the Labour initiative of neighbourhood policing had been a big success in Hartlepool and had helped improve the lives of many.

Coun Coppinger represents the Pallister ward in Middlesbrough.

The new Police and Crime Commissioners will replace police authorities.

Police and crime panels will also be made up of councillors from across the districts.

Commissioners will 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.

Their responsibilities include holding the chief constable to account, securing the maintenance of an efficient and effective force, setting the police precept and budget and producing a police and crime plan.

The police and crime panel will hold the commissioner to account and will also contribute to the policing plan and to the plans for spending on police services.