THE FIVE candidates to become Greater Manchester’s first Police and Crime Commissioner have been announced in advance of the election on November 15.
Steven Woolfe will stand as the representative for the UK Independence Party taking on fellow candidates, Tony Lloyd (Labour), former Wigan mayor Michael Winstanley (Conservative), Matt Gallagher (Liberal Democrats) and Roy Warren (Independent) for the new role which will set the priorities for Greater Manchester Police.
Speaking exclusively to the Evening Post, Mr Woolfe, 44, sets out his plans for the future of policing.
He said: “When I was 17, two incidents in two days occurred which made a lasting impression on me. I was born in Withington and grew up in Moss Side, Burnage and Withington.
“As a teenager I loved to dance, particularly break-dancing. One evening in a local park, a group of us were practising on our lino with a loud stereo. An officer came over to us and abruptly switched off the music and told us all to go home. We complained as we were doing no harm and said we would turn the music down.
“The officer was immovable. So we went home, angry but dutiful. The very next day I was badly assaulted by a local gang member.
“He was known to police but they didn’t arrest him as they said ‘there were no witnesses willing to say anything and it was my word against his. The best thing to do was learn karate’.
“To me the lessons were clear. In the first instance, the importance of community policing to engage with teenagers doing things the rest of the community didn’t like.
“But also to balance that with the real harm they were doing and the need for the young to respect the police decisions if they were balanced. Sadly I don’t see many teenagers walking away so easily today.
“The second was the impotence of the police in solving crime or the feeling of being fobbed off. The officer I remember was genuinely nice and I am sure he meant well, but my family were outraged and imprisoned by fear.
“The police needed to pursue all crimes including small offences like mine. I never learnt karate, but I did study hard to become a barrister to uphold the law.
“My career has seen me involved in criminal cases, both for the prosecution and defence, enabling me to experience the full range of the criminal justice system and victims always seemed to get the rawest of deals.
“If elected as PCC, I will take the lessons of community policing with more officers on the streets and in local stations rather than ‘out of town shopping stations’.
“I will extend community relations but will not shirk in demanding that sentencing needs to be much harsher. ‘Life means life’ is not just a phrase, but should be the mainstay of any sensible fair justice system.
“I will work hard to review the police budgets and I will be tough but fair. Your voice in policing.”