Candidate Statement of Colin Skelton

Colin Skelton is standing as an Independent candidate for Wilshire Police and Crime Commissioner. If you are intending to stand to be Police and Crime Commissioner where you live, you can submit your own Candidate Statement, so get in touch at Others are on the way, and we are looking for 400 words, and a photo of you to which you have rights.


I’m standing as an Independent Candidate in the forthcoming Police and Crime Commissioner elections in the Police area of Wiltshire. I’m standing because I want to make Wiltshire the safest place to live in the country, with the lowest level of crime. I think this is achievable if Wiltshire Police follow evidence based policies and recruit more Police Officers.

I have four main commitments, these are:

Recruit 300 new Police officers

I will recruit and train 300 new Police Officers. Bring the total Police headcount to 1300 by end of 2015.

Top 100 offenders targeted

I will aggressively target the 100 most prolific offenders within Wiltshire. Setting up five Enhanced Integrated Offender Management (IOM) teams across Wiltshire, each targeting the 20 most prolific offenders in their area.

Reduce crime by 20%

300 new Police Officers coupled with the enhanced IOM programme will reduce crime. In addition I will enhance and better resource Neighbourhood Policing Teams and make better use of intelligence/technology to reduce crime. For example I will ensure that Police Analysts are trained to the highest standards and make use of the world’s best analytical and predictive crime software in order to reduce crime. The Los Angeles Police Force has used crime predictive software for reducing burglary and have shown a 27% fall.

Look after Police Officers, PCSO’s and Police staff

None of this is possible without well motivated staff. I would treat staff fairly, make their working lives better and give them a real voice in how the organisation is ran.

I hope the people of Wiltshire would like to see this happen so that all our communities could be safer and better places to live.




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17 Responses to Candidate Statement of Colin Skelton

  1. I think you might find, Mr Skelton, that your commitments are rather more operational that perhaps the law allows?

  2. Sceptical of PCC's says:

    Funny – I was thinking that!

  3. Dontcha just love people who put themselves forward for a publicly accountable office but never answer your questions, preferring instead, to limit themselves to broadcast mode…

  4. Colin Skelton says:

    I’ve been bust running a campiagn, my feet hurt due to delivering leaflets (3000 so far).

    I disagree, If the PCC says to the CC, get 300 new Police Officers, I reckon it will happen. If they say we concentrating on sexual crime, heres the money, it will happen. All the staff who work in the force control centre are civilian employed by the PCC, not the CC. If the PCC wants to triple the workforce in the control centre, it’ll happen.

    The introduction of PCC’s is a fundamental shift in our constitution. In ten years time, PCC’s will be have more power than a CC.

    • PC someone says:

      you are living in a dream world. don’t you think the CC wants more police officers and staff??? Of course he does, but he is told what to do by government. Government want the police to save shed loads of money and get rid of a hell of a lot of police and police staff. If only it was as easy as you believe it is. I would like to know where you are getting all this money from when we have to save money.

  5. Colin Skelton says:

    Sorry and I would further add that the majority of my polices are backed bythe science, they have been trialled and shown to work. The best example of this is the school intervention programmes that reduce crime. If a PCC says we’re running school intervention programmes, so be it.

  6. “All the staff who work in the force control centre are civilian employed by the PCC, not the CC” No. You are incorrect. The new law changed all this and the CC is now a legal entity able to employ staff including civilian staff. Have you read the Act, Mr Skelton? I understand that you are busy delivering leaflets etc, but I would suggest that in your pursuit of science, you might like to get a grip of the new law as well.

    “I would further add that the majority of my polices are backed bythe science, they have been trialled and shown to work. The best example of this is the school intervention programmes that reduce crime” Really? Where is the randomised controlled trial to support such a hypothesis? It is my recollection that police intervening in schools did not appreciably make much difference. I am not up on all the reseach but here is the result of a brief websearch: “What We Know About the Effectiveness of Assigning Police Officers to Schools? Despite their popularity, few studies are available which have reliably evaluated the effectiveness of SROs” Results showed better info sharing, and “reduced serious indiscipline, physical violence and gang activity in case study schools” but no evidence of any effect extending beyond the school boundary.

    I am all for evidence based practice. So what are you referencing to be so sure that your policies are scientically based? Where is the scientific evidence that 300 more police will make any difference?

    And I would still counter your view that “If a PCC says we’re running school intervention programmes, so be it” – genuinely I don’t believe that to be case – either by the legislation or by dint of Chief Constables not willing to be told what to do…

  7. Sceptical of PCC's says:

    Councillor Jon makes some very good points about evidence based practice – however where is the RCT regarding the efficacy of PCC’s – surely it would be reckless in the extreme to introduce an untested policy to such an essential service?

  8. I am on the campaign trail but I will reply tonight.

  9. I’m back, yeah! feet still hurting…..I am too busy to read all the act.

    Ok so lets start with the school intervention programmes, I had assumed you had read my manifesto, I did not communicate this to you well enough in my post earlier. I don’t mean Police in schools, in fact Police are not involved at all. I’m talking about interventions that occur either in early school years or pre-school that have been shown to have many positive benefits, including reduced offending. And the best person to deliver this multi-agency approach would be a parent support advisor employed by the school but part funded by me (PCC).

    The three best examples are home visitation programmes (Strayhorn and Weidman, 1991; Kitzman et al, 1997 and Olds et al, 1997). really well designed experiments that involved home visits, parent education, community support and family planning. Following on from this was a large long term study (13 years) called the ELMIRA prenatal/early infancy project (Olds eta 1997). All four studies demonstrated a reduction in child abuse, delinquency, offending (arrest rate), aggression level and a host of other positive outcomes. The ELMIRA study took 13 years to complete and was replicated by researchers in Memphis which showed the same positive outcomes. Again, the ELMIRA project was analysed economically and found to have a cost benefit ration of 4:1 when looking at benefits to the taxpayer (Karoly, 1998).

    Another programme of note is the Head Start programme, again a big, long programme looking at the effect on at risk infant and children and the effect of home visitation and pre-school programmes. At age 27, the experimental cohort had half as many arrests as the control group. That is truly astonishing.

    There is anumber of positive programs like this and one or two that showed no benefit e.g. Infant Health and Development programme ((McCarton et al 1997). But on the whole I believe the evidence demonstrates that we could significantly reduce crime by implementing these progarmmes.And they are cheap to run with a big cost benefit.In total form my resaerch there are about thirty programmes of this type, all of which have demonstrated a positive outcome reference crime reduction.

    As for the evidence for more Police, targeting crime “hot spots”, and undertaking proactive arrests the evidence is very strong. I’m not going to rehash my blog, but my first post is all about this. 300 more Police officers would drive crime down (go to Sherman and Farringdon in their book, Evidence based Crime Reduction, 2002, have a whole chapter outlining the evidence for more Police driving down crime, if those Police are used correctly.

    Two last points, (i) my understanding is that the PCC controls the budget and can commission other agencies to work for them, so I would commission schools and joint pay for parent support advisors. I’d inform the CC, but it would be my decesion.

    (ii) I can’t agree more with sceptical above. Where is the RCT for the introduction of PCC’s. I’d recommend the “geek manifesto” which is all about untried policy and the disasters they cause.

    • To take some of your last points first. I think the whole PCC governance policy area is (to be polite) emergent (and to be impolite, ill thought through) and exactly how much control the PCC will have over budgets is up for debate. I suspect that an incoming PCC will meet huge resistance to diverting budgets hitherto spent on ‘direct’ policing towards the kinds of intereventions you describe. In the long term I agree with you about the value of those kinds of early intervention which is one of the reasons why the Labour Government invested so heavilty in SureStart.

      You appear to be seeking election as the Crime & Police Commisisoner. Though I support your whole thrust based on evidence based practice (I am a huge admirer of the work that Professor Larry Sherman does in Cambridge), I think you would find huge contraints on doing this. I have not read your manifesto – but have you costed out all these programmes – including the 300 extra police officers? What would be the impact on the council tax precept? Would you face capping from the Government – or a reduction in their grant? (The word ‘budget’ only features once in your manifesto when describing Government cuts. Your twenty commitments are not costed as far as I can see.)

      Yes in an ideal world, the interventions you describe above would happen. But this is politics not a research project…

      And as for your comment “I am too busy to read all the act”, may I, with all humility, suggest that you need to make the time.

      • Colin Skelton says:

        Dear Jon

        On the governance issue, I agree with you. I have a view about what PCCs should be doing but I admit it may not be shared with others and the constraints you mention, again, I agree. In many ways I think the PCC and the CC could be at loggerheads over priorities and at its worst this could divert resources and paralyse policing.

        Again, Sure Start was a brave and an excellent programme that WILL pay dividends in terms of positive outcomes for children well into the future. If I had one critique, it would be that it did not go far enough. I admired many things about the last Labour government, such as Sure Start, the minimum wage and the Equality Act.

        You may have got the impression that I’m a bit of an optimist, that is correct and I would like to see these types of interventions taking place, I do realise there will be constraints and competing priorties, but I’m going to try, if elected!

        I will get round to the Act. May I wish you all the best in your campaign.

  10. Sceptical of PCC's says:

    Wow – some good debate and actual understanding of Evidenced based Policing. A couple of points to throw in:-

    Larry Shermans ‘cops on dots’ – useful but have you reviewed his attempt to replicate the experiment in GMP? (Spoiler – UK citys don’t have a ‘grid’ system and thus the ‘dots’ don’t work as well – well to a any statistical significance)

    Schools intervention – excellent

    (Still) Sceptical of PCC’s Mst (Cantab)

    • Colin Skelton says:

      Dear Sceptical

      Have you a reference for the cops on dots? I also have concerns about the work that works in the US and how applicable it might be in the UK. We are similar but also very different.



  11. Sceptical of PCC's says:

    Don’t think they have published it yet (which is a pity). The work was overseen by Dr. Barak Ariel from the Cambridge Criminology department and had at least one GMP senior analyist on staff. An interim presentation was shown at the recent Eveidenced Based Policing conference at Cambs.

    • Colin Skelton says:

      Dear Sceptical

      Thanks for the reply. Cambridge does have a (as you might expect) world class reputation.

      Many thanks


  12. Pingback: Definitive List of PCC candidates 2012 |

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