As Liberal Democrat candidate for the new role of Northants police and crime commissioner, Paul Varnsverry says he has the tools to do the job.
In the second of a series of interviews with Northants PCC candidates, reporter Gavin Moore spoke to the married 51-year-old who was dragged into local politics, helping his wife campaign against a planning decision in Northampton.
In 2007 he was elected to Northampton Borough Council and was its deputy leader from 2009 to 2011.
In November he will stand against candidates from all the major parties and a handful of independents fighting to become the first Northants PCC with the power to hire and fire chief constables, and who will be answerable to the Home Office and the electorate.
As a consultant in the protective clothing industry Mr Varnsverry works with police forces and governments at home and abroad, as well as the military and multi-national corporations and has chaired the British Standards committee for police protective equipment since 1998.
Armed with that experience, he believes he has the right tools for a job which he and his party were originally opposed to on the grounds that it could place too much power in the hands of one person, the Liberal Democrats favouring a fully-elected police authority. Having lost the debate, individual county Lib Dem groups were given a free hand on whether to put forward a candidate.
Mr Varnsverry said: “How the successful candidate fulfils the role will determine whether or not it is a success or whether the elected authority approach should have been adopted instead. As a Liberal Democrat, following my personal political philosophy, will actually reassure people that it is possible for one person to hold such a high-powered role without giving rise to the concerns which have been expressed. It is going to be down to the character and personal philosophy of the individual.”
Mr Varnsverry said the county had suffered chronic under funding and is preparing to announce a plan to get more police on the streets. For more visit www.paul4police.org.uk.