Important role, so choose your vote carefully
There has never been an election for the 17 members of the body that we are supposed to trust to oversee our police force – The Police Authority. Never. Most of us know nothing about this authority – what it does, how often it meets, how many members it has, or who they are.
Tomorrow that is going to change.
Tomorrow a single person – the police and crime commissioner – will be elected to hold the chief constable to account, to set the police budget, and to devise a policing plan. It's a huge task, and one of enormous importance to us all.
But here's the best bit: every four years we get the chance to re-elect this person – or choose another one.
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That's a right – and a responsibility – we have never had before. So let's get it right.
The first part of getting it right means simply going to your polling station and actually voting. There have been many alarming reports of low expected turnouts for this election. Let's not let that happen. Such an important, groundbreaking election surely merits your interest and support.
The second part of getting it right means voting for the right person – the one you think is most likely to be able to tackle the very serious responsibilities of this job.
For me, there is one of the three candidates who stands out from the others. Only Sir Clive Loader has the experience and the background to give me confidence that he can tackle this enormous job.
Clive retired recently from an outstanding career in the Royal Air Force. From flying Harrier jump jets, he rose through the ranks until he achieved the position of Air Chief Marshal – the highest rank of all.
Not only that, he became the Commander-in-Chief of Air Command, leading over 31,500 RAF personnel and responsible for a budget of over £2.6 billion.
A huge role, demanding leadership qualities of the highest order.
Now he wants to bring those leadership skills, and all of the immense experience he gained in the RAF, to the equally demanding task of leading the police force.
He is a man of no political experience whatsoever. Good.
He will bring an entirely fresh pair of eyes to the job. Very good.
He is a man of enormous determination and strength of purpose. He'll need it.
He will deal with difficult issues with sensitivity and impartiality and has the depth of perception to understand the complexities of policing in both city and county.
The police commissioner will hold the chief constable to account. Every four years, we will hold the police commissioner to account.
So as I see it, from now the police will be working for us. What a great change for the better.
John Foster is a former Chairman of the University of Leicester