Your candidates in the Avon & Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner election

VOTERS are being asked to decide who should be in overall charge of Avon & Somerset police for the next four years.

Elections will be held across the region on Thursday May 2 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 Shelford, 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 having been in the post since it was created in 2012.

Voters will neeed photo ID

The election will take place on Thursday, May 2. Polling stations will open at 7am and close at 10pm.

Anyone going to vote will need to take a form of official photo ID, such as a driving licence or passport.

You can find out more about accepted forms of photo ID here.

The PCC election is the only one all South Gloucestershire voters can take part in, although one ward, New Cheltenham, also has a by-election for a new councillor (see below).

For more information on the election, visit the website

The candidates

The Voice asked each candidate for a brief biography and to oultline their priorities if they are elected.

The appear below in the order they will be on the ballot paper:

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’

Katy Grant (Green)

I am a councillor in Bristol, and an Avon and Somerset Magistrate. Before that, I worked for twenty years overseas with the UN on child protection and violence against women. 

As Police Commissioner, I will prioritise preventing crime, working with community to support youth services and tackle the social causes of crime. Knife crime in cities will be a focus, with more visible neighbourhood policing and greater services to victims and families. To address poor performance and prejudice within the force, I will enhance the independence of misconduct panels, while recognising the integrity of the vast majority of officers. Above all, we will police by consent; and I will work tirelessly with the Avon and Somerset Police to get closer to and re-gain the trust of the communities we serve.

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 receive support.

Sandie steps down

SOUTH Gloucestershire councillor Sandie Davis has stepped down from her role.

Cllr Davis had represented New Cheltenham ward, which includes the Siston Hill estate near Mangotsfield, since 2019.

The council’s Labour group announced her decision at the end of March, saying: “We’re sorry to announce Sandie Davis has resigned as one of our Labour councillors for New Cheltenham due to ongoing health issues.

“Sandie’s been a key member of the Labour Group on South Gloucestershire Council and we send our love and thanks for her service to Kingswood.”

Well known in Emersons Green for her work as a foster carer, Cllr Davis is also a governor at Soundwell Academy and Warmley Park School, and a trustee of charity Incredible Kids, which runs a play centre for children with additional needs and disabilities.

At the council elections in May last year she was re-elected to represent the two-seat council ward, increasing her margin of victory from 45 to 243 votes over the third-placed Conservative candidate.

By-election on May 2

Cllr Davis’s resignation led to a by-election in the ward, which is taking place on May 2.

Tha candidates standing in the New Cheltenham by-election are:

AJ Coakham (Green)

Kelly Cole (Conservative)

James Corrigan (Liberal Democrat)

Angela Morey (Labour)

More details can be found on the South Gloucestershire Council website.