Norfolk police commissioner ‘out of touch’ with voters, says Liberal Democrat candidate

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The Liberal Democrats have launched their campaign for Norfolk’s police and crime commissioner election by accusing the man in post of being out of touch with voters.

The county’s police and crime panel will meet in Norwich this morning to discuss plans to raise the force’s portion of council tax by just under two per cent.

The plan was put forward by commissioner, Stephen Bett, after his initial proposal to freeze the tax was vetoed by the panel two weeks ago.

Mr Bett said he was listening both to the panel and chief constable Simon Bailey, who broke ranks with him to call for an increase, as well as nearly two thirds of participants in a public consultation who backed a rise.

But Jacky Howe, who launched her campaign for the Liberal Democrats at the weekend, described the public split between Mr Bett and Mr Bailey as “to say the least, unfortunate.”

She added: “It suggests the Commissioner is out of touch with public opinion. I believe that most people accept that, with continuing cuts from central government, reasonable increases in local taxation are needed to pay for policing.”

Mrs Howe, from Sheringham, has fought two general elections in South Norfolk and serves on the visitors’ board at Wayland prison.

She said: “Like most Liberal Democrats I have many reservations about the system of elected commissioners but we are determined to make the system work as effectively as possible.”

“Norfolk is acknowledged as one of the safest counties in England in which to live. We must provide our police with the resources and support to do their job properly and ensure that this position is maintained.”