Meet the candidates for police and crime commissioner

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

In just over a month’s time elections will be held across the region 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 Sheldon, 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.

Nominations for the PCC opened on March 19 and will close at 4pm on April 5.

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

There are no other scheduled elections on that day in South Gloucestershire, with council elections having happened last year and the Metro Mayor election not due until May of next year.

Anyone voting in person will need to bring photo ID, such as a passport or driving licence, to the polling station. People without appropriate ID can apply to South Gloucestershire Council for a Voter Authority Certificate, by April 24.

People can also apply for a postal vote via the council’s website, by April 17.

For more information on the election, visit the website

As the Voice went to press, four political parties had already announced candidates.

The Voice has asked them to send a short biography and manifesto to outline their priorities.

They appear 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 ASPCC, 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 of 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 Sheldon (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.