Have your say on two important issues

Weíre not short of controversial issues at present Ė planning, education funding, deficit reduction, badger culling, the list goes on. Iíve chosen two for this monthís column - Police and Crime Commissioners and same-sex marriage.
The first ever elections for Police and Crime Commissioners will be held on 15th November when each of the 41 police force areas in England and Wales, outside of London, will elect a Commissioner. Weíve had one senior police officer recommend a boycott Ė I think heís badly wrong.

These new Commissioners will have a powerful mandate from the public to drive the fight against crime and anti-social behaviour. They will decide policing strategy and the force budget, set the local council tax precept and appoint (and if necessary dismiss) the Chief Constable.

They will represent those who elected them and hold the police force, and in particular the Chief Constable, to account for the performance of the police force.

Police and Crime Commissioners will replace the existing police authorities and have a much larger role. The West Mercia police authority was one of the best performing authorities in the country, and we should be grateful to them for what they achieved under Sheila Blaggís leadership. Sadly those high standards were far from the norm elsewhere in the country.

Police and Crime Commissioners will be voted in to serve you and if you think they are not setting the right priorities, then you can vote them out at the next election in 4 years time. Whatever you think of the change, I urge you to use your vote next month to put the power in the hands of the person you think will serve you best.

Turning to the other controversy, thereís a real row going on over same-sex marriage. Itís an issue that many of my constituents feel very strongly about and I have received many letters and emails on both sides of the argument. Iíve had more emails against than for, but I know the country is split in its view.

I have devised a survey for constituents to take in order to gain a greater insight into your views and help me to decide which way I should vote. Itís the first time Iíve done this on-line and Iím following the responses with interest.

So do please visit my website at www.peterluff.org.uk and spend a few minutes filling out the survey.


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