Voting for Police and Crime Commissioner takes place today

POLLING for West Yorkshire’s first Police and Crime Commissioner will take place today. (Thursday)

Four candidates are in the running to become the new public face of West Yorkshire Police, with the power to govern how the force tackles crime.

The elected commissioner will have the power to hire and fire the chief constable, set the force’s annual budget and produce a crime plan for the area.

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But they will have to answer to the public, and will be held to account if the force is not seen to be successful.

Candidates’ manifestos are now available on the Home Office website.

Mark Burns-Williamson, the former chairman of West Yorkshire Police Authority (WYPA) and a local councillor for Castleford, is representing the Labour Party.

He has vowed to take a stand against Government cuts, to keep police officers and PCSOs on the beat, to prevent privatisation and to take strong action on anti-social behaviour.

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Mr Burns-Williamson also wants to give victims a greater voice and “preserve operational independence of the police”.

Geraldine Carter, a former WYPA member and local councillor in Calderdale, is standing for the Conservatives.

Mrs Carter said she would appoint a new chief constable, give victims more involvement in offenders’ punishments, cut police paperwork and have a zero-tolerance approach to knife and gun crime.

She said she would recruit 850 new special constables.

Andrew Marchington, a former WYPA member, former Kirklees community safety committee chairman and local councillor for Kirklees, is representing the Liberal Democrats.

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His priorities would be to get more police on the streets, get police and communities working better together and push for “payback sentencing” that helps victims and benefits communities.

Mr Marchington also said he would focus on protecting people from domestic violence and rape.

Independent candidate Cedric Christie, a former detective inspector with more than 30 years of policing experience, will also stand for the new role.

He has vowed to make sure all members of the police force act with “honesty, integrity, fairness, impartiality, and within the law”.

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Mr Christie said he would chase out corruption and greed from the force.

For this election, voters will rank their first and second choice candidates. Postal voters should fill in and post back their ballot papers as soon as possible. They can also hand them in at polling stations before 10pm on Thursday.

People voting in person at polling stations should check their poll cards for details on where and when to vote. There are about 170 stations across the district open from 7am to 10pm.

For election queries call 01924 305023, and for the candidates’ full manifestos visit

The result will be published on our website, on Friday.