Prescott wants police and crime commissioner job

By Alex Stevenson

John Prescott has become the highest-profile politician to seek election as a police and crime commissioner.

Labour's former deputy prime minister said he would stand for the job, overseeing the work of Humberside police, in elections set for this November.

Lord Prescott, who is 74, said he would use the experience of ten years in Cabinet and 40 years as an MP to improve the work of his local force.

He will reportedly use part of the £40,000 in damages paid by News Group Newspapers over his status as a phone-hacking victim to fund his campaign, Sky News reported.

"For the past 19 months, I have fought to hold the Metropolitan police to account for its unwillingness to investigate illegal phone hacking by Rupert Murdoch's News of the World," he told the Hull Daily Mail newspaper.

"I have now succeeded in securing an apology from both the police and News Group Newspapers.

"During this struggle, I came to believe that there should be greater transparency and accountability of our police.

"The public should have much more of a say in determining the force's priorities and responsibilities."

The establishment of police and crime commissioners, which concentrates the power of the old police authorities into a single person, is a coalition government proposal.

But Lord Prescott said Labour's achievements in cutting crime through more CCTV, anti-social behaviour orders and neighbourhood policing meant his party had a better record on law and order issues.

"If shortlisted to be Labour's candidate, I will spend the next few months touring the region, listening to people across East Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire to determine their needs and concerns," he added.

"They will help draft my manifesto and, if elected police and crime commissioner, shape Humberside police's policing plan."

Lord Prescott joins ex-Hull city council leader Colin Inglis and former Humberside police chief Keith Hunter in the race.

He is not the only former Labour minister seeking a return to power. Alun Michael, who served as a Home Office minister in Tony Blair's first term in power, is running in South Wales.

This week Falklands War veteran Simon Weston, who suffered 70 operations as a result of burns received when his ship was sunk, announced he would take on Mr Michael for the post.