Meet the three candidates wanting to be the next Police Fire and Crime Commissioner for Northamptonshire

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Polling day is Thursday, May 2

People across Northamptonshire will be heading to the polls in May to choose the next Police Fire and Crime Commissioner for the county who will decide how to spend the £160.4m budget.

Three candidates want to take over from disgraced incumbent Stephen Mold (Con) who branded his proposed new chief fire office, Nikki Watson, a ‘b**ch’ in front of a group of firefighters.

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It comes as Northamptonshire Chief Constable Nick Adderley’s future is in the balance with a report finding evidence saying a ‘criminal offence may have been committed’ when he wore medals his brother’s Falklands’ War campaign medal.

l-r Ana Savage Gunn, Danielle Stone, Martyn Emberson candidates for the Office of Police Fire and Crime Commissioner/UGCl-r Ana Savage Gunn, Danielle Stone, Martyn Emberson candidates for the Office of Police Fire and Crime Commissioner/UGC
l-r Ana Savage Gunn, Danielle Stone, Martyn Emberson candidates for the Office of Police Fire and Crime Commissioner/UGC

The latest PEEL inspection report placed Northamptonshire Police in the ‘adequate’ category for six of the nine metrics, with investigating crime graded as requires improvement by inspectors.

Here are the candidates hoping to take over the role.

In alphabetical order by first name:

Ana Savage Gunn – Liberal Democrat

The Northampton resident says the Office of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner needs a total ‘reboot’ after repeated scandals.

The 62-year-old, who trained as a PE teacher, switched careers in 1985 and joined Northamptonshire Police working her way into a senior role with the tactical firearms squad.

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After her 12 years on the force, she became an international law enforcement consultant. Her job led her to working in the USA with police, fire and ambulance services, gaining skills she believes are needed for the position. And she wants to start by improving morale.

She said: “The commissioner’s office is in freefall after repeated scandals. The police chief is suspended, and the fire chief can’t take up their post as they are being investigated.

“Public belief has been severely shaken. Morale within the services is at an all-time low – as one officer said to me, ‘it’s lower than a worm’s belly’ – it is an almighty and embarrassing mess. However, I believe I have a unique set of skills that can turn this around.”

After attending Mr Mold’s final crime panel meeting Ms Gunn thought he came across as unapologetic, saying: “He was spectacularly unapologetic.

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"A lot of people have said to me on the doorstep that they will not vote again.

"I am a woman of integrity. I believe I have the respect, knowledge and will to turn this around.

"It will be hard work. It will take every hour of the four years to rebuild our services.

"I need to right the ship then improve the response times.

"The first year or two will be to build confidence in the office and the chief officers – appoint a fire chief with fire experience.”

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Danielle Stone – Labour

Danielle Stone says she will be ‘the people’s voice’, scrutinising both police and fire services, and supporting the ‘improvement journey everyone desperately needs’.

The 74-year-old mother-of-five lives in Northampton where she is an elected councillor – as well as working as a teacher, education officer and being a community activist.

She said: “My USP is that I’m not a police officer or firefighter. We have a police service that failed its inspection in 2019. Today, the service still requires improvement in the all-important category of ‘investigating crime’.

“We have an under-resourced fire service, with fewer than half of the 28 vehicles available for use most of the time, because crew levels are so low.”

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Speaking about Mr Mold she said: “I think it’s shocking that his party allowed him to stay in his role so long. He has created an unstable situation. There’s a huge turnover of staff.

“Crime figures for the county are shocking. The closure of services for families and young people, years of austerity and the cost-of-living-crisis has made that much worse.”

Ms Stone says she will ‘rebuild trust’ in the fire and police services and ‘maintain’ their ‘distinct roles’.

She said: “I had already been running a series of public meetings have have heard that women take the long way round because they feel apprehensive. There needs to be more CCTV. People are alarmed by the call-out response times. You are lucky if you get a crime number. A lot of young people don’t feel safe when they walk home from school.”

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She added: “I’m in the community, of the community, for the community. I want to see massive changes.”

Martyn Emberson – Conservative

Former chief fire officer for Northamptonshire, Martin Emberson, has set out his priorities saying he is passionate about community safety and innovation and technology to deliver his vision of integrated emergency services.

The 64-year-old father-of-two has lived in Northamptonshire since 2006 serving in fire services across the country in a 34-year career.

After retiring in 2015, Mr Emberson was appointed the following year to head HM Fire Service Inspectorate in Scotland, a role he held until 2018.

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Mr Emberson had returned to the family home in the Kettering area sitting as a magistrate, playing golf and sailing but felt he was able to follow his political ambitions under a new monarch.

His vow to remain politically neutral had been made to the late Queen.

He said: “I’ve clearly got the background and the professional expertise. I understand the services and can set that strategic intent for both services and can hold them to account.

"I am not Stephen Mold – I come with a different background. I come from a professional world. I have a reputation in the county as the chief fire officer. At the end of the day I am me, I am not Stephen Mold.

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"I believe that teamwork approach to dealing with incidents and management and leaderships is absolutely fundamental for taking us to the next level of community safety here in Northamptonshire and that’s why I want to do this role.

“After 34 years in the fire service, nine years as chief fire officer, I know the difference between a political gimmick and world leading innovation and technology that delivers integrated emergency services.”

Polls open on Thursday, May 2 from 7am to 10pm.

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