Police commissioner covering St Helens not standing for re-election

Police and crime commissioner Jane Kennedy
Police and crime commissioner Jane Kennedy

The police commissioner who oversees law and order in St Helens has announced she will not seek re-election.

Jane Kennedy made the announcement to the Labour Party that she would step down from her role in Merseyside ahead of the next vote in May 2020.

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Ms Kennedy became Merseyside’s first Police and Crime Commissioner in November 2012 and was re-elected to serve a second term in May 2015 with 61.7 per cent of the vote.

During her six years as commissioner, she has been a vocal opponent of cuts to policing and successfully campaigned against proposed budget cuts of up to 40 per cent threatened by the then-coalition government.

She has also been instrumental in transforming Merseyside Police’s stations and buildings, including overseeing the opening of the force’s new Operational Command Centre for tackling serious and organised crime.

She has also delivered support for thousands of victims of crime, through the Victim Care Merseyside service, which helps victims of some of the most serious crimes, including rape and sexual assault, domestic abuse and child exploitation.

Ms Kennedy said: “I have been immensely privileged and honoured to serve the people of Merseyside as their first Police and Crime Commissioner.

"Merseyside Police are the most effective and efficient urban police force in the country. I have been so very proud to work alongside them as their commissioner.

“After considering it very carefully with my family, I have come to the decision that I will not stand for re-election next May. By that point, I will have served more than seven years as PCC, and I will be ready to step back from public life and hand over the responsibilities of this hugely important job to the next commissioner.

“I have made improving efficiency and driving vital funds to front-line policing a hallmark of my time as commissioner. I’m pleased to say that – if nothing else – compared to my predecessors, I have reduced the cost of the scrutiny of the police on Merseyside by 43 per cent. This has saved more than £1m each and every year. Money which has gone straight to Merseyside Police.

“There have been many other proud moments: thanking our former Chief Constable, Sir Jon Murphy, for 41 years of exemplary service as he too retired; appointing Chief Constable Andy Cooke QPM who is leading the Force admirably, despite the challenging circumstances; officially opening the new Operational Command Centre and securing public support for sweeping changes to the rest of the police estate and introducing Victim Care Merseyside which has provided vital support to many thousands of vulnerable victims of crime.

“While those are the headline events, there are so many other, day-to-day interactions with the officers, PCSOs and staff of Merseyside Police and the people I was elected to serve which have brought me great satisfaction and pleasure. To hear the everyday stories of bravery, dedication and service of the men and women who put on the uniform to serve the public of Merseyside has been an honour.

“I still have 14 months left in office and there is much more I wish to achieve. I will be working right up to the point that I handover to the next Commissioner and my campaign for fair funding for Merseyside Police will continue right up to that point.”

Prior to her time as Police and Crime Commissioner, Ms Kennedy was an MP for 18 years, serving as a government minister in six different departments.

She was Britain’s first female security minister, with responsibility for policing in Northern Ireland, and the first woman to hold ministerial office in the Lord Chancellor’s department with responsibility for magistrates, the judiciary and family law policy.