CANDIDATES vying to become Essex’s police, fire and crime commissioner have revealed wide-ranging plans for the future - including more police on the streets, tackling knife crime and one even proposing licences for pepper spray to those fearing violence.

Residents go to the polls on Thursday to decide who represents them as commissioner out of the four candidates who have put themselves forward.

Who are the candidates?

  • Robin Tilbrook, the chairman of the English Democrats
  • Jon Whitehouse, the Liberal Democrat contender
  • Chris Vince, the Labour and Co-operative candidate
  • Roger Hirst, the Conservative candidate fighting to be re-elected

What are the candidates' priorities if they are elected as commissioner?


Robin Tilbrook - wants to grant licences for carrying pepper sprays

One of the four candidates is chairman of the English Democrats Robin Tilbrook who says his ambition is to end “politically correct


His manifesto 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. English Democrats will make sure that home owners are supported and not burglars."


Jon Whitehouse - wants to increase the number of police officers for Essex

The Liberal Democrat candidate Jon Whitehouse raised concerns about "too many police stations closing across Essex" in his manifesto.

He said: "The majority of closed police stations have now been sold off by the commissioner and are not available to re-open.

"However I am keen to increase the accessibility of police to local people and strengthen community policing including 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 also feels young people have been hit disproportionately by reductions in public services.

"Cuts to youth services lead to fewer opportunities for young people, and higher anti-social behaviour levels," he added.

Mr Whitehouse also said it is vital people work together to ensure fewer people end up in the criminal justice system.

"Two effective ways of doing this are adopting a public health first approach to tackle drug abuse and using restorative justice to intervene and divert people away from the criminal justice system at an earlier date," he added.


Chris Vince - wants to tackle the issue of knife crime

Chris Vince, the Labour candidate has listed four priorities in his manifesto he wants to implement if elected as commissioner.

He said: "My priorities as your commissioner would be to campaign for more funding from this cuts driven Tory government to support our police and fire services’ work with you, in our communities, to fight crime across Essex."

Mr Vince also vowed to work together with the police federation and fire service to support those on the front line, and wants to change the role of deputy commissioner to work closely with charities to tackle violence against women.

His other priority is to develop more effective strategies to fight back against gang violence, knife crime and county lines drug dealing across Essex.


Roger Hirst - wants to tackle domestic and sexual abuse and harassment so women are safer

Vying to be re-elected as commissioner is Tory candidate Roger Hirst who has pledged to recruit another 300 police offers for the county.

One of his main priorities if re-elected is to tackle domestic and sexual abuse so woman and girls do not have to live in fear.

He said: "No woman should feel scared or be threatened going out, meeting friends or walking home, but the reality is that many do.

"This abuse, harassment and violence should not be happening. Women should not be scared to live their lives, to walk around their communities or simply be who they are. We all need to work together to help women to be safe and feel safe. To be respected. To live their lives free of fear."

Mr Hirst said he will not tolerate male violence against woman, and admitted the number of rapes and assault which lead to a successful conviction is "woefully low in Essex".

He added: "I want victims to feel confident to report crime and policing culture needs to support them through the criminal justice system. "Alongside this, I want to see stronger investigations being undertaken that then lead to more successful prosecutions.

"I will spend time listening directly to women affected by violence against them to discuss and understand what we can do differently, and I will act on this."

  • In October 2017 Essex became the first county in the country to have a Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner.

The commissioner has the responsibility of overseeing how Essex's police and fire services are managed.