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Crime chief candidate pledges ‘zero tolerance’
A FORMER council chief bidding to become a new-style crime chief is promising a zero-tolerance approach.
Kingsley Smith, 65, Durham County Council’s most senior officer for 17 years, is standing as an Independent in next month’s election for the county’s first Police and Crime Commissioner.
Launching his campaign yesterday at Durham City’s Rivergreen Centre, he recalled how distressed his parents were after their home was burgled.
“This experience very much hardened my attitude to criminals, and if the people of County Durham and Darlington elect me as their commissioner, I can promise them that my message to criminals will be zero tolerance.
“Do not commit crime in my police area. If you do, there will be no hiding place, you will be hunted down, you will be caught, you will be punished.
“The culture I would want to develop is zero tolerance for criminals.”
Mr Smith said he would drive down crime and increase the arrest and conviction rate, give more support to crime victims, maximise the benefits of neighbourhood policing, and ensure the police were available where they were needed.
He urged people to use their vote on November 15.
He pledged to provide independence and strong leadership and said that being free of political affiliation meant he could speak for all residents.
Mr Smith, chairman of the Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said he would change the way the county’s roads were policed.
In response to a question from the audience, he said Durham was one of only two forces that used a mobile speed camera at identified troublespots, rather than a network of fixed cameras.
He told the launch meeting that motorists knew where fixed cameras were and would increase their speed after passing them.
He said he would follow the example of police in Fife who operated white vans fitted with speed cameras that were deployed when and where they were needed.
Mr Smith will contest the election with Labour candidate and former senior policeman Ron Hogg, and Tory candidate Nick Varley.
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