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James Sandbach, Saxmundham town councillor and Liberal Democrat candidate for Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner, would refuse salary and position if elected





The Liberal Democrat candidate for the police leader role said he would refuse a salary and the position if elected.

James Sandbach, a Saxmundham town councillor, is standing as the Lib Dem candidate at the upcoming Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) elections on Thursday, May 2.

The role was first introduced in 2012 and was meant to be the voice of residents within the police as well as ensure the force is both effective and efficient.

James Sandbach, a Saxmundham town councillor, is the Liberal Democrat candidate for the Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner role. Picture: Saxmundham Town Council
James Sandbach, a Saxmundham town councillor, is the Liberal Democrat candidate for the Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner role. Picture: Saxmundham Town Council

In Suffolk, Tim Passmore, who represents the Conservatives, is one of few to have retained the role since its inception, coming out on top in three election cycles.

Mr Sandbach, who also stood for the role in 2021, garnering just under nine per cent of the vote, believes the PCC’s job could be done through existing structures such as the county council and the force itself.

He said: “Money is being spent on bureaucracy when it should be going directly to frontline services and community policing.

James Sandbach, Saxmundham town councillor an Lib Dem candidtate for Suffolk PCC, has said he would refuse the position and its salary if elected. Picture: Joao Santos
James Sandbach, Saxmundham town councillor an Lib Dem candidtate for Suffolk PCC, has said he would refuse the position and its salary if elected. Picture: Joao Santos

“It’s an unnecessary post that should be abolished and that’s the point I want to make very strongly.”

Should he be elected, Mr Sandbach promised he would refuse to take the post, its salary, as well as any of the job’s perks, and instead focus on petitioning the Government to scrap PCCs altogether.

Some of the duties carried out by the PCC during the role’s four-year mandate include setting out the setting and ensuring the force’s goals, monitoring performance, promoting value for money and securing the police’s budget through a precept on council tax and Government lobbying.

Mr Sandbach also criticised the closure of local police stations as well as the current officer numbers and pointed out the money related to PCC duties could be better used to invest in more staff and prevent crime instead.

“The police operate, and will continue to do so, regardless of whether there is a PCC in place or not,” he said.

“The more we do to prevent crime, the less expensive the law enforcement side of it is.”

This is despite Suffolk Police currently having over 1,400 officers, the highest officer number in the force’s history, while still being one of the lowest-funded forces in the country.

Mr Sandbach continued: “In order for the statutory functions of the police to be fulfilled, I just don’t think the PCC is necessary.”

“If you want to see a focus on community policing, rather than political policing, that’s my focus.”

The elections will follow the First Past The Post system and photo ID will be required for voting.

Each district council will be responsible for counting the ballot papers for its area, with the results being announced at West Suffolk House in Bury St Edmunds on Friday, May 3.

The other candidates are Tim Passmore (Conservative), Sir Robin Wales (Labour and Co-operative Party), and Rachel Smith-Lyte (Green Party).

They have been approached for their election statements.