07:20 Thursday 21st June 2012
Peterborough Breakfast Show
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire
PAUL STAINTON: Another person from Peterborough has announced their intention to run for the post of the Police Commissioner of Cambridgeshire. Elections to the post, which will replace the Cambridgeshire Police Authority, will be held in November. Labour announced last week that city councillor Ed Murphy has been selected by the Party as their candidate. Let’s speak to the latest person to announce their intention to run for the job, Ansar Ali, who’s been an independent member of the Cambridgeshire Police Authority since 2008. Morning Ansar.
ANSAR ALI: Good morning Paul.
PAUL STAINTON: Why do you want this curious position?
ANSAR ALI: Because I think I’ve got the right qualities to deliver the expectations of the public of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.
PAUL STAINTON: What are they?
ANSAR ALI: Well I’ve worked in the public sector for over thirty years. As you just said, I’ve been an independent member of the police authority for the past four and a half years. And I’ve done some work at national level, helping policing improvement and also local government improvement. So I think I’ve got the right level of skills, and knowledge and experience, that I can bring to this particular post, which is a very important post for the public of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. And we need to have the right person in it.
PAUL STAINTON: You work on the police authority at the moment. What’s wrong with the current set up then?
ANSAR ALI: Well to be honest with you, my personal view is that the current set up was working perfectly well, with councillors nominated by Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council, with an addition of eight independent members like me. So my personal view is that the current system was working perfectly well. This is beyond my control and the police authority’s control. It’s the Government that has decided they want a new system of accountability for policing, to one individual who’ll be elected by local people. So that’s not my doing, whatever views I may have. But it’s what the Government wants to see, changes in the running of the police service.
PAUL STAINTON: Are you slightly worried then that the role could become politicised? Ed Murphy obviously brings a Labour standpoint to it. Undoubtedly we’ll get a Conservative point of view, and probably a Conservative candidate soon. You can be truly independent, can you?
ANSAR ALI: Absolutely. Truly independent and really. I’m not a politician by profession. And the reason that I’m standing is just for those reasons, because I think that the role could well be politicised, and then we would lose what the public really wants from this particular individual. It’s a very important role, and I think it should be fitting with the person who’s an independent thinker, not obliged by any party political colours. Because at the end of the day, at the forefront of that person’s priorities, must be the needs and aspirations and worries of the local people living in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. That’s got to be the top of their priority, not pleasing their political leaders.
PAUL STAINTON: How are you going to fund all that though? Because we need to make all these cuts, don’t we?
ANSAR ALI: Well absolutely, because again as I often said, and my father said, you’ve got to cut your cloth according to your size. In terms of the money that we get from the Government, the Government decides that. That’s beyond us. We can lobby, it’s one of the things that does happen, and if I’m elected by the public of Cambridgeshire and Peterboroughg I’ll be lobbying that we are underfunded in Cambridgeshire. We are the second lowest funded area in the country. And that is grossly unfair. And I will be working and pushing and lobbying central government that we should get fair funding for policing for Cambridgeshire. And in terms of the cuts, we have to work with the money that we have. here’s no point in talking rhetoric. You have to be quite specific in what you can do with the money that you have available to you. And what I will be doing is making sure that the process is transparent, working with the public, so the public know fully what money we have, where it goes, and how it’s spent. So we can consult with them, we can communicate with them, so we can build the trust of the public. And that is the biggest worry, that we are losing the trust of the public in one of the most important institutions of this country, which is policing, which we should be proud of, as the public of this wonderful country. And that’s what I want to retain and build on.
PAUL STAINTON: Nice salary as well, seventy grand.
ANSAR ALI: Well, I’ve already indicated, and I’ll say it in public again, that I will not be claiming the full salary for that post. Because being elected as Police Commissioner of Cambridgeshire by the public of Cambridgeshire is an honour and a privilege, and it’s not driven and motivated by the salary, certainly not on my part.
PAUL STAINTON: No. How did you manage to fund this? Because you’ve got to put five grand down as well, haven’t you?
ANSAR ALI: Absolutely. That’s my own money that I’ve worked very hard to save. I’ve got a wonderful family around me, and they were the first people I consulted. And I remember about a month back I was sitting with my father, who is in his mid-eighties, and he thinks very highly of the police. And we were talking about it, and he said why don’t you stand for this? And at that time I wasn’t actually considering this, and my father said, why don’t you stand? It’s going to be tough, because the political parties have got local machinery. And I can fund the £5000. I have that money. My family will support me with that. And I’m looking for your lieteners to support me with my campaign, and with any other contributions that they can make. So I need to have a strong campaign group, because it will be tough against the party political machinery. But if real change is needed, and if people want real change, then they have to support an independent candidate. It’s going to be tough, funding, but I will give it the best shot that I can possibly give.
PAUL STAINTON: Well we’ll find out come November Ansar. Thank you for that. Ansar Ali has put his hat into the ring to be the new Police Commissioner in Cambridgeshire.