Antonio Vitiello is the English Democrats candidate for next month’s Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) election.
The former member of the Thames Valley Police Volunteer Support Team (PVST) was raised by a police inspector and studied law at the University of Westminster. When asked why he decided to stand as a candidate, he said that he considered it his civic duty to “reform the police, to bridge the gap between the public and the police, and to make policing a respectable occupation again“.
At first glance, putting forward an English Democrats PCC candidate appears to be outside of the Party’s goals, which includes a referendum for English Independence. Antonio said:
“The English Democrats were one of the first parties to campaign for elected positions such as PCC’s. We believe in Direct Democracy based upon our ancient English constitution.
“Our ancient constitution was the bedrock for the US constitution and the founding of the United States of America, who have elected police commissioners.”
Antonio said he is standing as a candidate so, if elected, he can eradicate political correctness from Bedfordshire Police and ensure that constables honour their oaths by enforcing “actual law“.
“This is as opposed to attempting to enforce the ‘whim’ of Westminster politicians, or mere government guidelines. Such guidelines hold no legal weight at all and are therefore no more than government advice.
“The retired UK Supreme Court justice, Lord Jonathon Sumption QC, has spoken out extensively on this very subject.”
He added that the police has been known to get government guidelines wrong, which, he said, they have no power to enforce.
“This is particularly true with regards to face covering exemptions, in relation to persons holding the protected characteristic of Disability in accordance with section 6 Equality Act 2010.
“In doing so the police are failing in their public sector equality duty under section 149 of the Act.
Also, by discriminating against disabled persons, Bedfordshire Police are putting themselves in jeopardy of being sued for compensation in the Civil Courts.
“Being sued for damages in respect of Disability Discrimination is a further waste of taxpayers’ money. Such money could be saved, and spent on policing priorities, by ensuring that constables and police staff do not discriminate in the first place.”
If elected, Antonio said he will introduce legal training for the constables and examine them on key concepts of English law.
“This will include the difference between government guidelines, which are not law, but merely advice, as well as primary and secondary legislation, and the basics of Common Law.
“In time, we will implement full training on English Constitutional Law. Constables need not be trained to the level of a solicitor or barrister. However, they need to understand the basics of the English legal system, as well as what they can and cannot, and must not attempt to, enforce.”
Antonio would also increase Bedfordshire’s policing capacity, at “virtually zero-cost” by setting up two additional divisions of Special Constabulary.
He said the first will enable and encourage retiring police officers (with over ten years full-time service) to keep their warrant card and police powers upon retirement.
“Due to extensive police experience, such retired officers will not be required to commit to a set numbers of patrol hours per month.
“Instead, they will undertake periodic CPD training days to maintain their skill set and remain up to date with any relevant legislative changes.”
As PCC, Antonio would create a scheme enabling businesses to pay for their security staff to train and register as special constables. The powers of arrest for these specials would apply to their place of work and its neighbouring streets.
“Such registered security staff would be subject to Police staff performance monitoring and discipline.
“We already have a similar working model of this in terms of ‘Cathedral Constables’ in Canterbury, York, Liverpool and Chester cathedrals.
“We will grant licences for carrying pepper sprays to allow people to protect themselves from attack.
“We will ensure firearms certificates are granted to people of good character who want to exercise their constitutional right to defend their homes.
“English Democrats will make sure that homeowners are supported and not burglars.”
The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill
The Chronicle has asked the other candidates for their views on aspects of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, but what are Antonio’s views? He said:
“I oppose this bill for several reasons. Firstly, the right to protest is a fundamental right not to be interfered with by the state.
“The Conservative party under Boris Johnson (who promised to “get Brexit done”), have actually implemented a dictatorship which is worse than the European Union!
“What the present tyrannical government has done, would have been impossible had the police been properly trained and focused on enforcing actual English law, as opposed to the whim of the Westminster establishment, and political correctness.
“England has never been a police state before, and it need not be any longer.
“Secondly, the bill is completely unnecessary, giving that offences with sufficient sentencing power already exist under both the Criminal Damage Act 1971 and the Police Act 1996.
“It is merely a case that the police need to make arrests, investigate the offences, gather evidence and work with the CPS to ensure that offenders are prosecuted.
“If anything, it would be more sensible for the government to reform the non-fatal offences against the person. Particularly with regards to sections 18, 20 & 47 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861.
“This would benefit all members of the public as well as Constables and other emergency workers.
“Personally, I think it would be more sensible for Parliament to instead use its time and resources to clearly define the ‘Actus Reus’ and ‘Mens Rea’ of the above offences in statute.
“This would ensure increased and speedier prosecutions, in respect of both Actual and Grievous Bodily Harm (ABH & GBH). Thus, this would reduce the overheads on the police, the CPS, and the courts.”
The proposed expansion of the PCC’s role
In March, the Home Secretary outlined the recommendations to expand the PCC’s role to include the fire service and changing the voting system to ‘first past the post’ (click here for other candidates’ views). Antonio said:
“Personally, I think it is unwise to have a combined police & fire commissioner. A good police commissioner requires legal knowledge and skill, to be able to hold the police to account.
“Whereas a good fire commissioner does not require the same degree nor extent of legal knowledge.
“I agree in principle to locally elected fire commissioners, however I do think it would be unwise for the same commissioner to oversee both fire and police.”
“Smaller parties are freer to represent people than larger parties. For so long as we have the first past the post voting system, we will inevitably end up with a two-party system, which is the Westminster establishment. The English Democrats oppose first past the post, in favour of the proportional representation voting system.”
More information on the English Democrats Party can be found here.
There are four other candidates for the Bedfordshire PCC election:
Festus Akinbusoye (Conservative)
Patrick Hamill (Independent)
David Michael (Labour)
Jas Parmar (LibDem)
The election will be held on 6 May 2021.