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Campaign funding became a major issue in the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner election, due to take place on November 15th.
In response to this, we issued the Rotherham Politics Transparency Challenge. We asked candidates to reveal the sources of their campaign funding, the amounts and give us a rough idea of how it is being spent. Additionally we asked if there was anything in the candidates past that might prove embarrassing once known.
So far Nigel Bonson, David Allen and Jonathan Arnott have risen to our simple challenge about transparency.
Sadly we can report to readers, Shaun Wright for Labour and Robert Teal for the LibDems, have failed so far to rise to this simple request.
I’m quite happy to take up Rotherham Politics’ challenge to declare campaign expenditure so far, although it feels slightly odd to be doing this whilst a campaign is ongoing and expenses are still being incurred. I expect to have further expenditure between now and polling day, so the list below will possibly be incomplete.
Jonathan Arnott (UKIP candidate for South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner)
Campaign deposit: £5,000
£3,000 has been provided by the Party as a loan to be repaid only if I achieve 5% of the vote.
£1,600 I have provided personally
£400 has been provided by individuals as a loan to be repaid only if I achieve 5% of the vote.
My campaign has paid for 60,000 leaflets at a cost of a little under £600.
I have received some campaign materials from the national Party free of charge which will be declared as a notional expense in accordance with electoral law.
The cost of the leaflets has been met as follows:
£210 from people who are not members of my Party
£220 from people who are members of my Party
I am funding the balance myself.
I expect to have other notional expenditure to declare for travel, etc. which will of course be financed by myself.
I have £280 available from my local Party branch towards the campaign, which I plan to use only if I have further expenditure.
I have had further offers of donations totalling £750 which I have asked to be put to a different cause.
This statement from Nigel Bonson on the impossible to keep promises, being made by other candidates:
Robert Teal now says he wants to increase ‘bobbies on the beat’ to 90% of the police staff rather than the current target of 70%. Putting to one side the fact that this may be crossing the boundary into the Chief Constable’s operational control; what he does NOT say is where he proposes to make cuts in order to achieve this. At a time when some forces are increasing resources to deal with child grooming, for instance, it would appear that Mr Teal intends to significantly reduce specialist departments.
Shaun Wright says he would ensure all complainants of anti-social behaviour get a response within twenty four hours. What’s the point of visiting someone at 4pm who has phoned to report an isolated incident of drunken behaviour outside their house at 2am? What a total waste of an officer’s valuable time. Likewise, it would be pointless people phoning the police about a burglary the day after bonfire night or Halloween – hard-pressed officers will all be spending the day meeting Mr Wright’s meaningless and rigid target!
Jonathan Arnott says he’ll have police stations open 24 hours a day. Well, as a resident I can assure voters that I would not wish to see valuable police or civilian staff sitting in an empty police station at four in the morning. If I need the police at that time I want them to come to me.
Another concern is this. Whose ideas are these? Have candidates already fully consulted or are they, even now, before having been elected, pursuing their own ill-thought-through whims? Of course it could just be shallow and meaningless rhetoric to win votes.
When you hear any of these promises, I would ask that you please just carefully think about them.
Policing is a serious and complex business. You are appointing someone who will affect lives.
I am standing as your PCC because I want to play my role in making South Yorkshire safer. I have an abundance of knowledge and experience of what works and can therefore, with credibility, pursue the type of policing the public wants. I will not be entering any competition of attractive (and potentially dangerous) ideas.”