A FORMER senior detective is bidding to be the Conservative candidate in the race to become Northumbria’s first elected police commissioner.
Stewart Hay spent 30 years with Northumbria Police before joining the Conservative Party after his retirement and is now hoping to stand out as the most experienced candidate.
He is one of two hoping to be selected next month to take on Labour and possibly the Liberal Democrats in this November’s police commissioner elections.
The new post, which comes with an £80,000 salary, hands control of the force to one man tasked with setting policing priorities and agreeing the force budget.
Police commissioners have the power to hire and fire chief constables, and will be held to account by a new police and crime panel. The Home Office yesterday announced the commissioners will be required to swear an oath of impartiality.
Mr Hay, who now works as a solicitor, told The Journal winning the selection process would be a chance to return to the job he loves.
The 55-year-old father-of-one said: “Northumbria Police is one of the leading forces in England and Wales without doubt in the top 10 and arguably well up there in that top elite group.
“The challenge is to maintain and improve on that position promoting best practice and multi- agency work. It would be a huge mistake if an outsider with no real allegiance to the police or the area was elected because they have the golden ticket from a political party which at the time is the favourite.”
He added: “Since leaving Northumbria Police I became a solicitor specialising in criminal case work and although it is true to say that I may be credited with some acquittals which the police would have preferred to have been convictions, this does evidence my independence from the police now.
“I have also done some agency work for the CPS securing convictions, equalling things out a little.
“I will be totally honest, after working in the field of criminal law in Northumberland Tyne & Wear, I miss it, when I go to police station to represent alleged offenders, I reminisce about the past and keep thinking about law and order, I meet police officers who are second and third-generation police and I know their parents.
“I want to do what I can to help them, the public and the system sharing my knowledge and experience for the greater good.”
Mr Hay will find out if he is the Tory candidate at a Ponteland selection meeting on June 9. He will be up against, for Labour, either Vera Baird or Tom Foster.
The Lib Dems are so far not contesting the vote as a protest at what they see as the politicisation of the police.