The Rotherham Politics Transparency Challenge.

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.

South Yorkshire PCC Sunday Politics Discussion

Missed yesterdays Sunday Politics PCC Discussion, thanks to Cerberus for the link, you can watch it here:

South Yorkshire part starts at 42 minutes

SYPCC Elections – Candidate Funding?

The SYPCC elections are bringing out the best from the campaign machine. Dirty tricks galore! The Shaun Wright campaign has introduced many spurious questions, designed specifically at other candidates, as a means of distraction.

One of the latest involves the funding of campaigns, as though Shaun Wrights campaign funding were already an open book?

Rotherham Politics challenges the other candidates to let us have their information is as clear and unambiguous terms as Nigel Bonson for us to publish.

This answer to the question has been supplied by his campaign manager:

“Nigel Bonson, it has been alleged, is a puppet of a “Party Machine” and the perception is that he has Conservative Party funding coming out of his ears!

There has been no Central Party money available for any of the candidates nationally. They have had to raise it themselves. Some have done so through local associations.

In Nigel’s campaign, this is not the case as he refused any significant donations, and continues to do so. He is determined to be free of any accusation that any decisions he may have to take as Police Commissioner are due to external influence from any Party, Government, Unions or private individuals or groups.

Nigel Bonson’s campaign funding:

£5000 deposit – loaned by Conservative Party and to be found by the candidate if he doesn’t yield 5% and have the deposit returned.

£80 for a banner – donated by my engineering firm.

£20 for some leaflets printed by me on my rubbish printer at home.

A further £75 given by friends and cheaply printed on a riso machine.

So, to date his campaign has cost approximately £175.

The odd councillor has included a piece on Nigel in their newsletter but this has not been at cost to us.

He also ends by challenging the other candidates to do likewise.”

Vonny Watts.

Why Nigel Bonson? A Personal Perspective.

I think you will find that you may ask any question you wish of Nigel Bonson and he will answer it adeptly, honestly and with the ultimate aim of attempting to persuade the people of South Yorkshire that he really is the most competent candidate based on his experience and his passion for effective policing.

Independently of that, I am of course keen that the issues in Rotherham around grooming are fully exposed. The motive? I am a mother, a woman and a feminist. I’m keen to say that the outrage I feel that young women in Rotherham were let down so badly by the agencies who should have protected them, is not motivated by political strategy, as Michael Sylevester seems to be cynically suggesting. I sat my daughter, aged ten down yesterday, and showed her a video about grooming. I felt terrible doing this. I didn’t want to have to take away her innocence. She hasn’t even embarked on her life as an adult and I am having to arm her against these evil predators. What else would a mother do in such circumstances? I had a conversation on the issue with my friend’s teenage boy for the same reason last night. Politics doesn’t come into it, Caring for our young people does! We are parents above all else.

I want answers for the victims who stepped forward. I want those who have not come forward yet to feel the confidence to do so. Girls were being abused. Their first point of contact most likely wasn’t the police. It would have been further down the line that police became engaged if I’m not mistaken? So, I do, as a mother and a woman, with personal experience from my own youth of girls being let down by those who should have cared for them, want answers.

Of course those answers will need to come from those who were in charge at the time.

Vonny Watts

Nigel Bonson – My promise to the people of South Yorkshire

My promise to the people of South Yorkshire.

If elected all candidates will have to sign an oath of impartiality.
In the absence of that, currently, we can only take their word for it.
I will go further than this “wait and see” promise.

“I, Nigel Bonson, of Sheffield, South Yorkshire,  sincerely promise that I will act at all times with integrity and impartiality. I will act and take decisions, free of the influence or interference of Government, any political party, the trade unions or any specific individual or body.”

I am able to do this. I am not the puppet of large donors. I have maintained my integrity and impartiality whilst working within the police and the wider criminal justice system for the last 38 years and that will not change.

Here is the official oath from the Home Office website and I adhere to that too…

Police and crime commissioner oath

“I, Nigel Bonson of South Yorkshire do solemnly and sincerely promise that I will serve all the people of South Yorkshire Force Area in the office of police and crime commissioner without fear or favour.

I will act with integrity and diligence in my role and, to the best of my ability, will execute the duties of my office to ensure that the police are able to cut crime and protect the public.

I will give a voice to the public, especially victims of crime and work with other services to ensure the safety of the community and effective criminal justice.

I will take all steps within my power to ensure transparency of my decisions, so that I may be properly held to account by the public.

I will not seek to influence or prevent any lawful and reasonable investigation or arrest, nor encourage any police action save that which is lawful and justified within the bounds of this office.”

Nigel Bonson.

Nice One Nigel!

Dear Rotherham Politics readers,

My heart soared when I read this incisive statement on Nigel Bonson’s latest twitter-twatter-flutter –

Nigel Bonson ?@nigelbonson

And it is high time someone quizzed @ShaunforSYPCC about the issues he is avoiding.

Yeah, it is high time that Shaun Da Sheep left the safety of da Laybah bruvvaz-n-sistaz flock and answered those searching, relevant and highly important questions that he’s been bombarded with and completely avoided answering.

If he doesn’t it think it’s fair to ask –

1. Who is he protecting?

2. Why is he protecting them?

3. What is he hiding and why?

4. Why is he so kack-scared of fully and openly responding to citizens’ and voters’ legitimate questions?

Kind Regards,

Promises! Promises! Promises!

This statement from Nigel Bonson on the impossible to keep promises, being made by other candidates:

“I would urge voters to be cautious when considering the many promises being made by candidates who do not understand policing. Let me give you some examples:

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.”

Nigel Bonson

Nigel Bonson website

PCC Hustings- Questions being stage managed?

Dear Rotherham Politics readers,

I have just been given this outrageous, but hardly surprising, piece of news from “my inside correspondent” that South Yorkshire Police & Crime Commissioner candidates have tried to introduce the following two questions into the debate to be held at New York Stadium on 8 November.

1. The Hillsborough Enquiry.

2. The Rotherham Child Sexual Exploitation scandal.

And heyho, twang my bra-strap, guess what a surprise … they’ve been told “NO”. So we look like having another contrived and stage-managed event of a beauty contest.

This of course may not be in the least little bit disappointing to our Rovrum Laybah candidate, Shaun Da Sheep. Remember, he was RMBC Cabinet Member for Childrens’ & Young Peoples’ Services, and came in way over C&YPS budget during his stewardship by some millions of pounds.

All this begs the questions –

a – just what have they got to hide

b – just who are they intent on protecting

c – and more importantly and worryingly why?

This may yet develop into something at least as large as another high-profile sexual exploitation scandal that is growing just like Topsy.

Yours in abject disappointment,

Get your (free) ticket here.

Nigel Bonson – The Conservative Party Candidate for South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner

Nigel Bonson has spent his entire working life within the criminal justice system. He is currently an independent member of the Parole Board ensuring public safety is a priority when making decisions regarding a prisoner’s release. Nigel was a police officer with Greater Manchester Police for 30 years attaining the rank of Chief Inspector and latterly responsible for Criminal Justice Partnerships in Salford.

After a very successful police career where he specialised in community policing, partnership working, crime reduction and domestic violence, Nigel moved to become an Associate Trainer with The National Police Improvement Agency. Nigel also worked as a Neighbourhood Renewal Advisor supporting local partnerships in the delivery of regeneration and crime reduction working under contract to the then Labour government.

Nigel has completed secondments to both regional and national government including Home Office Safer Cities Co-ordinator, managing the Regional Crime Reduction Team at a regional government office, and working on generating crime and disorder reduction activity across many regional programmes. He has regularly briefed ministers on these activities and drafted speeches on their behalf.

Nigel has extensive experience of gun and gang culture which we have seen all too tragically in recent weeks and represents a continued threat to our communities. He has considerable experience of working in deprived areas with correspondingly high crime levels including Labour heartland estates. He has international policing experience, including tough areas like New York and Philadelphia where he worked to share best practice between U.K police forces and their American counterparts. On behalf of the British Government he visited Chicago to work with the Mayor and others to explore policing and housing policies.

Nigel Bonson has the courage to take the difficult decisions which will be necessary in the role of Police and Crime Commissioner. Unlike his opponents however, he has real experience of the role of a police officer and this gives him the means and the credibility to create effective working relationships with officers, officials and partners. Critically he says, he has the necessary insight to tackle inefficient working practices on the behalf of South Yorkshire people.

Contemporary negative press surrounding the police does highlight a need for us to recognise and challenge mistakes but they should not be allowed to shackle our force. We must work to ensure that officers are able to achieve maximum efficiency in reducing crime whilst ensuring public confidence and pride in South Yorkshire Police

The role of Police and Crime Commissioner is not party political. I will be signing an oath of impartiality which guarantees that I will not be influenced by Government, the Opposition parties or the unions. We must not play politics with public safety. That is immoral. That’s not British policing. This is a unique and special opportunity to improve our police force on behalf of the people it serves; not a stick for political parties to beat each other with and must never be used to interfere with the Chief Constable’s operational control. I will, of course, fight for budgets that allow the police force to be of maximum effect in reducing crime. In return I will expect the police force to deliver on that.”

Many candidates talk of returning officers to “front line policing”. These are empty words unless you have the ability to identify exactly what that front line is and the bravery to say what it is not. I have the skills and experience to work with the public, the police and their partners to identify and prioritise exactly where our resources are most needed and I have the courage to take decisions which make sure they get there.”

My aim will be giving safety back to the public by giving strength back to the Force. Tackling Crime Together.”