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Birmingham barrister Ayoub Khan to stand for West Midlands Police & Crime Commissioner

October 3, 2012 2:17 AM

The Liberal Democrats have selected Birmingham barrister and former council cabinet member Ayoub Khan as their candidate in the Police and Crime Commissioner election in the West Midlands.

Twice a Parliamentary candidate in Ladywood, Mr Khan was announced as the Lib Dem candidate after a ballot of members in local parties across the West Midlands Police force area.

Mr Khan said: "I am delighted to be given this opportunity to champion root and branch community policing in Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Coventry and every borough in the West Midlands.

"Growing up in Aston, crime was an ever present threat, but ten years ago I witnessed a man being shot by two masked gunmen just 50 yards from my home. I had to use my belt to stop the victim bleeding to death. This shattering experience changed my life - I became very involved in local programmes to fight crime and local policing matters as a councillor. I wanted to make a difference. I gave up a career in IT and studied law instead. Now as a practising barrister I have a daily insight into the way our police work."

Mr Khan, who held the community safety portfolio on Birmingham Council's Cabinet until May this year, said his experience had shown the value of early intervention and community engagement, both in cutting crime and ultimately cutting costs.

"My watchwords for effective policing are Prevent, Protect and Re-assure - or PPR for short. We need to prevent crime, protect public and property but also re-assure people, especially the vulnerable. Crime is generally coming down but it is still far too high and I am well aware of how the fear of crime can restrict people's daily life, not just the elderly but young people too.

"The policies and decisions of the PCC should be driven by consultation, not political dogma. The distinctive community politics approach of the Liberal Democrats suits this new role. It is not just about setting a budget and meeting senior officers in smoke-filled rooms. I want to be a People's Commissioner, meeting residents in every community across the region, hearing their concerns. From Tettenhall to inner Birmingham, from Coventry to rural Meriden, the local experience of crime must be taken into account.

"I also want to engage directly with beat officers on the front line, it is vital that we maintain morale at this challenging time and learn the lessons of local police experience. I will talk to senior officers but also want to hear what the beat bobbies have to say.

"Community policing going hand in hand with early intervention programmes really does reduce crime, I have seen the evidence in Aston and across Birmingham in recent years. We need back office efficiency savings and a shift of uniformed officers to visible front line work but I oppose privatisation. I want to consult serving police officers directly and engage them in the process of finding savings and efficiencies."

Local MEP Phil Bennion congratulated Ayoub on his selection, saying: "The local Lib Dems have picked a strong candidate who will give Labour and Tories a run for their money. I have worked with Ayoub on various community issues in the last year and been impressed. He has a real grasp of what drives change in the diverse city he takes such pride in while also being aware of the different community contexts in the rest of the West Midlands force area.

"The PCC is a Tory idea but I think it will need Liberal Democrat commitment to community politics to make it work."

ENDS

Note: Ayoub Khan is a barrister who grew up in Aston and who has nearly ten years experience working for integration and community policing as a Lib Dem councillor in Birmingham. Working with John Hemming MP, he won plaudits for exposing Labour's systematic postal vote fraud and has twice been a Parliamentary candidate.