John Prescott to run for police commissioner job – exclusive interview
FORMER Hull East MP Lord Prescott has thrown his hat in the ring to become Humberside Police’s first commissioner.
The ex-deputy prime minister has announced, in an exclusive interview with the Mail, he is putting his name forward to stand as the Labour candidate in November’s election.
Lord Prescott said: “I want the opportunity to continue my public service to the region with a mandate from the people to protect the community and target criminals.
“I feel that after proudly serving as a local MP for 40 years and as a cabinet minister for 10 years, I have the experience to listen to the public and help be their strong voice in supporting the police and holding them to account .”
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But the entry of the veteran Labour peer into the party’s selection race will almost certainly change the dynamic of the campaign.
It comes just days after the Metropolitan Police issued a personal apology to Lord Prescott after a judicial review found the force had failed to warn him he was a victim of phone hacking while he was deputy prime minister.
He told the Mail: “For the past 19 months, I have fought to hold the Metropolitan Police to account for its unwillingness to investigate illegal phone hacking by Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World.
“I have now succeeded in securing an apology from both the police and News Group Newspapers.
“During this struggle, I came to believe that there should be greater transparency and accountability of our police. “The public should have much more of a say in determining the force’s priorities and responsibilities.”
Lord Prescott’s popularity has soared in recent years since stepping down from frontline politics.
An outspoken critic of David Cameron, the coalition Government and journalists and newspapers involved in phone hacking, he is a regular contributor to the social network site Twitter and has more than 111,000 followers.
Joan Hammell, his former chief of staff, was also awarded £40,000 in damages after having her voice mails hacked.
Lord Prescott claimed the previous Labour Government’s support for CCTV, antisocial behaviour orders, police community support officers and neighbourhood policing had all helped reduced crime.
He said: “These are achievements I am very proud of.
“That is why, after requests from former constituents and local party members, I have agreed to put my name forward to become the Labour candidate in November’s elections for Police and Crime Commissioner for the Humberside Police area.
“If shortlisted to be Labour’s candidate, I will spend the next few months touring the region, listening to people across East Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire to determine their needs and concerns.
“They will help draft my manifesto and, if elected Police and Crime Commissioner, shape Humberside Police’s policing plan.”
Lord Prescott, who will be 74 in May, retired as Hull East MP before the last General Election.
The directly-elected commissioner posts are a flagship policy of the Conservatives aimed at abolishing existing police authorities and replacing them with high-profile individuals, who will work alongside chief constables.
Whoever fills the Humberside role in what is expected to be a three-and-a-half year term of office with an annual salary of £75,000 will oversee a police force budget of £180 million.