Kennedy vows to bring back community policing

25 Jan 2024
Will Forster and Paul Kennedy shaking hands

Mole Valley councillor Paul Kennedy has been confirmed as the Liberal Democrat candidate to take on the Conservatives in Surrey’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) elections on 2 May 2024.

Paul has sharply increased the Lib Dem vote at each of the last two elections, and achieved a strong SECOND PLACE in the 2021 PCC election with over 112,000 votes (42%),

He is a former barrister, accountant, and actuary with over 30 years’ professional leadership experience in finance, governance, and criminal and public law.

Paul currently serves as a member of Surrey’s cross-party Police and Crime Panel which scrutinises the work of the existing Conservative PCC.

Welcoming Paul’s reselection, Will Forster leader of the Lib Dem opposition on Surrey County Council said:

“It’s great to have such a strong Liberal Democrat candidate yet again for this year’s election. For too long, Surrey residents have been taken for granted by the Conservatives. And with Labour effectively out of the race (they came a poor 5th in 2021), Paul has a great chance of winning this time. Especially following the Liberal Democrats’ stunning successes in last year’s local elections.

“Having served on the Police and Crime Panel with Paul, I know he has the professional experience, strategic clarity and commitment to turn Surrey Police around after December’s damning PEEL inspection report.”

Paul said:

“Surrey’s dedicated police officers and staff risk their lives daily to keep us all safe. But after nearly 12 years of Conservative and “Independent” PCCs, Surrey residents pay the highest council tax in the country for our police service and have little to show for it. We all deserve better.

“The current Conservative PCC has diverted money from frontline policing to expand her own staff budget and has undermined local accountability. As a result, the number of Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) across Surrey has halved, and the average response time for the 101 service reached over 8 minutes leading to December’s damning inspection report. Yet the PCC’s glossy annual report just a few months earlier suggested everything was fine.

“Like many people I disagree with the idea of PCCs, but we’re stuck with them for now. So, let’s do the job properly. For over 10 years, I’ve provided independent advice and oversight to a range of public and professional bodies. If elected, I will work with the Chief Constable and his colleagues to fix the failings highlighted in the HMICFRS report, bring back community policing, and deliver better value for money for residents."