AN EASTBOURNE father-of-two is the first candidate in Sussex to declare his intention to run for the office of police and crime commissioner.
Paul Richards, 44, who lives Summerdown Road, is seeking the Labour Party nomination for the new post, which will be elected in November.
The job will involve setting the police budget, working alongside senior police officers to set priorities, and having the power to hire and fire the chief constable for Sussex.
The post will replace the current Sussex Police Authority.
Mr Richards, who was Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Lewes in 2001, is standing on a ticket of rights for victims of crime.
He says he also wants to ensure budget cuts do not land on the most vulnerable, and to campaign against hate crimes against minorities such as the LGBT community, and hidden crimes such as domestic violence.
He has pledged that if he wins one-third of the salary will be donated to police and crime victims charities – and is challenging the other candidates to do the same.
Mr Richards was an adviser to Labour cabinet ministers, including Hazel Blears MP, the former police minister.
He is vice-chair of Eastbourne Labour Party, writes regular columns for Labour publications, and appears on radio and TV providing political commentary.
He has also worked for former Home Office minister Liam Byrne MP.
His local backers include Brighton councillor Warren Morgan.
Labour members across east and west Sussex will vote for their candidate in the spring by postal ballot and the election will be held on November 15.
He said, “This is a big role and it needs a big candidate to fill it.
“It is vital that people in Sussex elect someone on the side of the victim of crime, and someone who can work with the police without forgetting who they represent.
“I will be meeting with local people and groups to tell them about my campaign for victims’ rights, and to ask them how to improve policing in Sussex.”