THE Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) elections are due to take place on May 2 — with three candidates standing for the Devon and Cornwall role.

PCCs are tasked with ensuring the local police in their area are meeting the needs of the community. There are 39 police areas across England and Wales with a PCC. Each area has one commissioner.

Standing to be the next Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon and Cornwall are: Alison Hernandez (Conservative and Unionist Party); Steve Lodge (Liberal Democrats); Daniel Steel (Labour and Co-operative Party).

We contacted each of the candidates to find out more about them and the reasons they are standing for this position.

Alison Hernandez (Conservative and Unionist Party)
Alison Hernandez (Conservative and Unionist Party) (Alison Hernandez (Conservative and Unionist Party))

Alison Hernandez (Conservative and Unionist Party)

I live in Torquay, recently married an Army Corporal and have a 16-year-old daughter. Born in Hele Village, Torquay, I was the first in the family to go to university, was a market trader with my father in South Devon selling donuts as a teenager, a victim of domestic abuse and stalking while elected as the commissioner and don’t make promises I can’t keep.

I am an experienced leader in the South West and has developed this since my time in regional government. A long career working alongside the police to deliver improvements to tackle crime, as a local and regional government official, a management consultant across the UK, Singapore and Australia, an elected councillor in Torquay, and an elected Police and Crime Commissioner for the past eight years.

I have developed and led nationally and regionally award winning teams of volunteers and professionals. From a Britain in Bloom award for regenerating a park as a volunteer to a recent Public Relations (CIPR) award by my office for increasing reports of drug dealing by communities.

I lead the South West team of Police and Crime Commissioners where together they have created the Prisoners Building Homes Programme (also award winning). This is where 100 prisoners are taught to create modular homes in a workshop. The first ones built using this workshop are in Cullompton for those on the housing register. With 82 being built across the region this year.

I am someone who listens and understands the problem to be solved.

Feel accessing the police is difficult? I have reopened thirteen police station enquiry offices from Penzance to Ilfracombe, with five more yet to come including Liskeard and Exeter City Centre.

Worried about dangerous drivers where you live? I established Vision Zero, enabling £5-million extra investment into road safety. From trialling new technology to stop people using their mobile phones while driving, to better supporting Community Speedwatch volunteers.

Concerned about persistent drug dealing and anti-social drug abuse? I have prioritised and established Operation Scorpion with the four other PCCs in the South West. Catching cross-border drug dealers and those exploiting our children (County Lines). Four of the five forces in the SW (including Devon and Cornwall) are now in the Top 4 for the most drug disruptions in the country.

Fed up with Anti-Social Behaviour? I have funded extra training for 500 police officers to learn all the tools and powers available to tackle ASB. Created a victim support service and worked nationally with all Police and Crime Commissioners to raise the issue of ASB, I have secured £1-million pound for ASB hot spot policing in Devon and Cornwall this year. And my office will be helping fund street marshals for our town centres.

Think the police don’t take rural crime seriously? I have been working across the South West to secure better intelligence sharing between forces and together we are creating Operation Ragwort. This is to capture travelling criminals who steal farmers’ property and livestock. A recent success was of criminals thieving near Tiverton and captured in Wiltshire. The criminals were from Kent!

Steve Lodge (Liberal Democrats)
Steve Lodge (Liberal Democrats) (Steve Lodge (Liberal Democrats))

Steve Lodge (Liberal Democrats)

I am a lifetime Liberal Democrat voter and have been an enterprising businessman, marketer and public relations consultant for more than 30 years. If elected, I would bring an innovation, finance and governance background to the commissioner role to support the police in making our streets safer.

I started out in finance, and I have a degree in accounting from the University of the West of England. I worked in accountancy for IBM and Marconi, but then retrained in newspaper journalism and took senior account roles in the advertising industry before starting my own companies. I’ve worked with a range of businesses, charities and public sector organisations across Devon and Cornwall. Last year my main business marked its 20th anniversary with 20 acts of kindness – from building free websites to buying 50 microwaves for a food bank.

I am also a non-executive director for an NHS contractor that dispenses appliances and I understand the power of good governance and accountability, working with the executive team to facilitate strategic decision-making. I have been a senior officer for the Federation of Small Businesses, championing SMEs across my region of Mid Devon and beyond.

On a more personal note, I live in the town of Tiverton. I am married with three kids, two dogs, and three cats. Two of my children are home schooled and have special needs, which brings with it a range of opportunities and challenges. Socialising is tricky, and we look at fresh ways to enrich and engage them, including trips to places as diverse as Stonehenge and Tokyo. My wife has been inspired to create sensory clothing for my daughter and is looking to see if this supports other parents in a similar situation to us.

Outside of family, I have run a comedy club as a hobby for nearly 20 years. I enjoy sport and played squash in two national team finals representing my university. I played for squash teams in the Devon leagues before hanging up my racket a few years ago and retiring to the golf course, which is an infrequent if not infuriating pleasure.

I’m a real music fan, and had my own funk show on local radio for a few years. Broadcasting through lockdown was a rewarding experience, keeping people in touch with the outside world.

I believe my experience and skills will bring the right mix of challenge and support to our local police force and to wider crime initiatives, and I have ideas to ensure both Devon and Cornwall are fairly represented. My pledges are:

• Engage our senior officers, committing to bridge the gap between the police and the communities they protect.

• Back fair funding and smarter spending, ensuring our police force has the resources required to fight crime effectively.

• Steer a return to proper community policing, strengthening bonds with local communities to prevent crime and improve safety.

• Promote rehabilitation, working to reduce reoffending and secure a safer future for all residents.

If elected, I’ll look forward to working together with communities and the police to make our streets the safest in the country.

Daniel Steel (Labour and Co-operative Party)
Daniel Steel (Labour and Co-operative Party) (Daniel Steel (Labour and Co-operative Party))

Daniel Steel (Labour and Co-operative Party).

I was born and brought up in Plymouth. I am proud to come from a service family. My father served in the Royal Navy for over 20 years. I was brought up being taught it was important to always ‘do your bit’. It’s where my values and passion for public service come from.

My own experience of being threatened at knifepoint has made me determined to make the communities of the Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly safer. I believe wherever we live, the one thing that connects us all is the need to feel safe.

Until earlier this month, I was working at the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office. I was required to resign to be able to stand for election.

My career in public service has taken me to many difficult and dangerous places such as Afghanistan, Egypt and Colombia as well as the United Nations, where I represented the UK with honesty, integrity and determination.

I was awarded the Civilian Service Medal (Afghanistan) for my posting to Kabul where I worked to support former Afghan translators and workers who’d served alongside HM Armed Forces.

My leadership skills and resilience have been forged risking life and limb to represent the UK and its interests. I am proud to have upheld and promoted British values like respect for the rule of law under the most challenging circumstances.

During my career I have worked on issues such as tackling violence against women and girls, modern slavery, human trafficking, and counterterrorism. This experience on some of the most serious issues facing policing is invaluable.

As a diplomat I’ve worked with people with very different views to mine. But I’m a bridge builder. If elected, I will work with whoever I need to deliver for the people of Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly in the same even-handed and fair way no matter who people vote for.

Labour has a plan to take back our streets. We will halve serious violence and restore confidence in our police and criminal justice system. To achieve this in Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, I am pledging to:

1. Put police back on the streets: More police officers and PCSOs on our streets to prevent crime, catch offenders, and prevent anti-social behaviour.

2. Tackle the levels of violence against women and girls: By creating new police specialists to support victims of violence and rape.

3. Prevent youth crime and reoffending: I’ll ensure the police crack-down on serious violence and knife crime and stop young people getting drawn into crime.

4. Boost crime prevention and victim support: To make it more local, and better focused on the challenges that face our rural areas, towns, and cities.

5. Crackdown on illegal sewage dumping: I’m backing Labour’s tough plans to ensure water bosses overseeing repeated illegal sewage dumping are prosecuted.

It should come as no surprise, one of my favourite hobbies is travelling. I have been lucky enough to visit over 40 countries. I speak Spanish and some broken Arabic from my posting to Cairo.

Voter ID

Voters in England now need to show photographic ID to vote at polling stations in some elections.

The deadline to apply for free voter ID for the elections on Thursday, May 2, is 5pm on Wednesday, April 24.

Find out more about accepted forms of photo ID, how to apply for a free Voter Authority Certificate, and what to expect on polling day on The Electoral Commission’s website: