Police and Crime Commissioner candidates: Matthew Grove (Conservative)
Prospective Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Grove has pledged to cut crime. In the run-up to the vote on November 15, Jenna Thompson finds out more about him.
MATTHEW Grove's desire to become the first Humberside Police and Crime Commissioner can be traced back to one day in June 2007.
His home in the Holderness village of Withernwick was one of hundreds across Hull and East Riding that was destroyed by flooding.
As a newly-elected East Riding councillor, he was suddenly in the same position as hundreds of the people he represented.
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"It is one of the most devastating events of my life," he says.
"But, through it, I found my political voice.
"I realised my job was to be the voice of all the people it had affected and the people of the area.
"It gave me an appetite to serve the community."
Five years on, inspired by that desire, Mr Grove decided to join the race to become the first police and crime commissioner, standing as the Conservative candidate.
"I have a real appetite for representing the people of this area.
"I like a challenge and I love problem solving," he says.
"I have always stood up against bullies and crime is one of the greatest examples of bullying there is.
"People who steal and assault others are bullies – they are taking through brute force. This role is an opportunity to lead the attack on bullies.
"It is a fantastic opportunity to cut through the bureaucracy and actually bring about change that benefits people."
If elected, Mr Grove will be giving up his day job running his small building services company and be in control of the force's £180m budget and almost 4,000 staff.
How does he feel about the thought of waking up one day with so much power?
"I have to say, a little nervous," he says.
"But I am quite excited. This is a huge challenge but it is one I would relish.
"I want this job, I absolutely want it.
"It is not about politics, it is about real problems, real issues, real priorities to real people."
He is sitting in the lounge of the home that was flooded, a large converted barn that has been completely redecorated.
Clucking away outside is his new cockerel, which has been named Prescott – after the man he sees as his main rival for the job.
"One of the biggest burdens I feel is that, if I don't win, I will have let down the people of this area," says Mr Grove.
"We have two other candidates at almost the extreme wings of politics – old Labour Prescott and UKIP's Godfrey Bloom, who holds views I find, on the whole, distasteful. This is too important a job to leave to either."
When Mr Grove first announced he was going to stand for the role, he described the position as the "job from hell".
But the 49-year-old has his eye on the job for the next eight years.
"I will be absolutely focused on being re-elected, so I will be completely focused on providing the policing service I believe the majority of the public want and deserve and are paying for," says Mr Grove.
"I want to do this for the next eight years."
As the Tories have been responsible for the 20 per cent budget cuts hitting the force, Mr Grove is firmly toeing the party line.
"What I want at the end of my term is for East Yorkshire and Northern Lincolnshire to be safer, with fewer crimes and fewer victims, without taking money out of the public pocket," he says.
" I want the public to realise how you should judge how important it is not by how much money you put in but what you get out of it.
"We need to make sure that every penny on fighting crime is spent properly and achieves what we want; reduced crime and fewer victims."
"I have spent a lot of time talking to the public, holding street surgeries, and there is a lot of concern the police aren't visible enough," he says.
"A lot of rural communities feel extremely vulnerable because they don't feel they have adequate police coverage. Criminals have seen rural areas as an easy target and we have to change that."
To make officers more available, he advocates the use of volunteers to staff police station counters and says he will examine sharing buildings with other services.
He also wants to sell off the current police authority building in Hull city centre and use the cash for a community crime-fighting fund.
To bring in more money, he hopes to bill drunken criminals for the police time they use.
"If people had some proper consequences to face when they have been drunk and disorderly, when they have urinated and vomited on our streets, paying to put it right might encourage them to look at a more healthy lifestyle," says Mr Grove.
A married father-of-three, he says already he has little spare time – "barely enough to cut the grass" – but that is how he likes it.
"I have my children, my dogs and my chickens and I spend a lot of time helping people. I am just a family man who likes helping my community."
He describes the £75,000 salary the post attracts as "a lot of money, for a lot of job".
"The public have the absolute right to see someone earn that money," he says.
"It's not just about putting the hours in but being properly available to people, spending cold, wet nights in community halls and on street surgeries, listening to people."
Despite that, he says he is now completely focused on winning over the electorate.
"It is a high-risk job," he says.
"There are no half-measures here.
"But I really, really want this job."
The election will be held on Thursday, November 15, and the results counted, verified and announced the day after.