Stay ‘gutted’ to pull out of race

CADDINGTON Councillor Richard Stay has said that he is ‘gutted’ after pulling out of the race to be elected as Bedfordshire’s first ever Police Commissioner.

Councillor Stay had put his name forward for the role last month but has had to pull out due to ‘family circumstances’.

He told the Luton News: “I’m gutted, I would have loved to have done the job.

“It will be the highest profile role in Bedfordshire and it’s hugely exciting.

“It’s the first role of its kind to have an influence over not just strategic decisions but how all local public services can work better - the job is so much wider than just the police.”

County voters will take to the polls to elect a Police Commissioner for the first time on November 15.

The role will see a ‘corporation sole’ take charge of the county’s police force in a pioneering role which will see the Bedfordshire Police Authority scrapped.

The winning candidate will be given the power to hire and fire the force chief constable, set the force budget and precept, agree police and crime priorities and ensure value for money.

And Mr Stay says that it remains to be seen if the controversial new role will work.

He said: “I think it’s a brave decision (to introduce police commissioners) and only time will tell whether it is successful but it’s worth the experiment.

“It’s not something we’ve been used to in England before, and keeping operational policing separate from organisational elements is crucial.”

Despite his disappointment at not standing, Mr Stay will now throw his weight behind Toddington Councillor and fellow Conservative Tom Nicols’ bid to win the role.

“I think he’s got the experience and the credentials to be a very good Police and Crime Commissioner,” he said.