Patrick Hamill is an independent candidate for this year’s election for Bedfordshire’s new police and crime commissioner (PCC).
He has lived in Bedfordshire for 59 years and has held various public roles including councillor, campaigner and South Bedfordshire District Council chairman.
Patrick is currently a councillor representing Central Bedfordshire’s Tithe Farm ward. He was elected in 2019 as a UKIP candidate, but now sits as an independent councillor.
He said that the public roles he has held have enabled him to assist many people with their issues, which, he believes, has given him a sense of connectivity with the public. He said
“Connectivity [with the public] is the most important thing when campaigning for the role of police and crime commissioner.
“The public is telling me that the police are still not close enough to them. I want to ensure that both the police and the communities they serve are at one, should I be elected.”
Patrick said the PCC role is not a political one and he believes that you can not be a party member and be 100% independent. He said:
“I’ve been a member of the LibDems for several years, I’ve been in the Conservative Party for several years, I’ve been in the Labour Party, and I’ve been in UKIP and the SDP.
“They all had agendas and the party came first. As an independent I literally have no [party] manifesto to work to and no-one to influence me in anyway, and that gives me a head start with the public.”
Access to funding is a major advantage of representing a major political party. The deposit to run as a PCC candidate is £5,000 and then there are the additional costs of campaigning. Patrick said:
“I’m being funded not only by myself, but by residents who said ‘would you like to go for the PCC role?’. I haven’t thought about it, but they said ‘we will give you support and money to help you to find the deposit’.
“That was quite heartening as they believe that I can make a difference taking on the PCC role.
“And that’s the reason why I decided to stand.”
The candidates from the main parties have varying levels of police experience. Patrick is not worried that his lack of experience will turn off voters.
“Police experience is not what the public wants, they want someone who understands their needs.
“I must be the only candidate that relate to that.”
“I have a son in the police who has served 21 years, so it is not as though I do not understand policing.”
Patrick said he has a lot of respect for front line police officers, but he is concerned that too many want to leave policing.
“I want to change this because if you can retain officers you’ve got more officers on the street, and this has a positive knock-on effect with the public’s perception of policing.”
For many, the only contact with the police is via the call centre. Patrick said:
“The call centre is the biggest turnoff I’ve ever come across, it needs to be sorted. I think it needs a complete review.”
If elected Patrick said that he had a plan ready to go to help the most vulnerable who may become victims of scams. He also has ideas about the use of dash cams and CCTV, which he believes will help to reduce crime.
He also wants to lobby over dognapping as he feels pet theft needs to be upgraded to a more serious offence with stronger penalties.
Patrick’s campaign will be launched shortly, but he admitted that its impact will be limited due to a lack of funding.
For example, he has a team of volunteers to help with things such as delivering leaflets, but these won’t be delivered to every household. But he said that he will have a strong online presence during his campaign, which will enable him to share his priorities as well as to discuss residents’ issues with crime and the police in general.
Patrick can be found on Facebook and on social media with the hashtag #pathamillforpcc.
The election will be held on 6 May. The earliest date someone can officially become a candidate is Monday 29 March 2021. This is the last date for publication of the notice of election. The close of nominations is 4pm on Thursday 8 April 2021.