Police Commissioner election
'Political candidates both carry baggage'

By Dan Santy 30/08 Updated: 30/08 12:40

Buy photos » Ron Ball. (s)

SINCE May there have been plenty of column inches devoted to the race between Labour's James Plaskitt and the Conservatives' Fraser Pithie for the new role of Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner.

But there has been little said about the independent candidate, Ron Ball, who has also decided to throw his hat into the ring.

Here the Observer meets the man hoping to beat the politicians in the running to be Warwickshire's first Police Commissioner.

BORN in Birmingham in 1950, Ron Ball worked as a pilot for British Airways for 31 years, flying 747s. A divorcee with four children, he has lived in the Stratford area for over 25 years and currently calls Bidford-on-Avon home.

Mr Ball was also a magistrate in Stratford for four years during the 1980s and a school governor for seven years at Welford Primary School. He retired from British Airways in 2005 but returned to flying two years later until resigning this year to concentrate on his election campaign.

He says he has decided to stand as an independent candidate to meet the policing needs of Warwickshire without being influenced by party politics.

"The only criterion should be the policing needs of Warwickshire. The political candidates approach the problem with political baggage.

"Public sector unions will colour James Plaskitt's views. An idealogical preference for the private sector - despite examples where the private sector have spectacularly failed - colour Fraser Pithie's views. Those judgements should be made devoid of any political bias.

"The majority of the public is still largely unaware of what is going to happen in November. I am currently conducting random interviews of anyone who is prepared to talk to me about this and most people aren't even aware elections are going to take place.

"When it is pointed out a politically balanced body - Warwickshire Police Authority - is going to be replaced by an individual who may well be an active member of one of the main political parties I have yet to talk to anyone, including active members of political parties, who agree with it.

"The political independence of our police forces is taken as a given by most of our population. Having political appointees as commissioners will breech a well founded British tradition."

*RETIRED police sergeant Andrew Moss had declared an interest in running as an independent candidate but has decided to withdraw and support Ron Ball.

Explaining his decision to withdraw, Mr Moss said: "As prospective independent candidates we have been in correspondence for a while and have had the opportunity to meet and discuss our campaigns, and our wishes for the outcome of the election.

"I was always a reluctant candidate and it took me some time before I decided to stand. My decision was made because, at that time, there were no independent candidates declared and only the two main political parties represented.

"My prime reason for standing was to try and block local policing falling directly under the influence of political parties. It is my personal opinion someone representing a major political party will not be able to always act in the best interests of the community where those interests are at odds with party policy.

"As a retired police officer I was aware my own independence and impartiality was open to question. With Ron's declaration of his candidacy I saw an alternative to what I could offer and someone who was more truly independent than I might be perceived to be.

"I continue to want the best for the people of Warwickshire and for Warwickshire Police, an organisation I was proud to serve for thirty years, and have accepted Ron's invitation to help his campaign by drawing on my police experience where it can be of benefit.

"My aim, as is Ron's, is to keep party politics out of policing in Warwickshire and there is no hidden agenda. There was always the risk multiple independent candidates could split the vote and allow the political parties to get their candidate in. I hope by standing down this possibility will be reduced."

Buy photos» Ron Ball. (s)

Buy photos» Retired police sergeant Andrew Moss has withdrawn from the Warwickshire Police Commissioner election to support Ron Ball. (s)

Buy photos» Retired police sergeant Andrew Moss has withdrawn from the Warwickshire Police Commissioner election to support Ron Ball. (s)

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