THE four candidates battling to become Essex’s Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner have told why they are standing for the role in next week’s election.

Residents will go to the polls on Thursday to decide who represents them as commissioner.

Commissioners are responsible for overseeing both police forces and fire services.

Robin Tilbrook


The right wing candidate fighting for the role is chairman of the English Democrats Robin Tilbrook who says he aims to end “politically correct policing”.

Mr Tilbrook said: “We will grant licences for carrying pepper sprays to allow people to protect themselves from attack.

“We will ensure firearms certificates are granted to people of good character who want to exercise their constitutional right to defend their homes.”

Jon Whitehouse


Jon Whitehouse, the Liberal Democrat contender, said struggling public services have led to communities suffering.

“We have seen too many police station closures in Essex,” he added.

“This undermines the ability of the police to effectively fight crime and help their communities.”

Mr Whitehouse claimed most of the closed stations have been sold off by the commissioner and are not available to reopen.

“However, I am keen to strengthen community policing by increasing police numbers, locating police in buildings shared with other public services and looking at opportunities to provide new facilities in areas where there is lots of new development,” he added.

 Chris Vince


Chris Vince, the Labour candidate, wants to develop more effective strategies to fight back against gang violence, knife crime and county lines drug dealing across Essex.

Mr Vince said he has spent five years speaking to residents about law and order.

“They tell me how they worry about the rise in violent crime, and lack of police visibility, he added.

He said Essex communities need change.

“Police funding should come from central government; with tax rises for those who can afford it, not for those already paying the price for Tory failure,” he added.

“They feel let down by Tory cuts and want action.”

Roger Hirst


Fighting to retain the role as commissioner is Conservative candidate Roger Hirst, who vows to bring crime rates down if re-elected.

“I will provide funding for an additional 300 police officers, on top of the 500 we have already added,” he said.

Mr Hirst said sexual abuse and harassment must be tackled, so women and girls do not have to live in fear.

He said: “I will continue to champion the rights of victims, including their right to be referred to services that are tailored to support their needs, for example Restorative Justice and Mediation Services. Whilst we have made progress, there is still much more to do.

“I will have an even sharper focus on promoting awareness of domestic abuse, protecting and supporting victims and their children and I will invest further to strengthen the support that is available for them.”