In November this year, the whole of Bedfordshire will be voting for a new Police and Crime Commissioner, who will take over from the present police authority and its chairman, to help run our police force. The Conservatives have chosen their prospective candidate, Jas Parmar, and Steve Lowe has talked to him about the new job and how he hopes to fill it.
Jas is known by his children as a ‘freshie’, which means he was born in India and came over here as an adult. That was 33 years ago.
He said: “I hail from the Punjab. My father was an army officer. He was my inspiration. I was only ten when he died but he is still my hero.”
He moved to Hitchin 33 years ago and worked in a factory for £1.06 an hour.
Jas said: “Work is important and I have always believed in working hard and supporting myself and my family. In 1982 I joined the Metropolitan Police Force. At that time there was 125 black and Asian officers out of a total of 25,000. We were treated ok.
“Perhaps the mood then was one of not complaining enough and is now one of complaining too much.
“I left in 1987 to start my own business. There was a recession then but I like to find opportunity in recession.”
Jas now runs a Post Office in Kempston, next to Bedford, and has been a Conservative councillor for that area.
But what does he think of the cuts, of privatisation and of G4S?
Jas: “We have to go down the route of savings. We must reduce our debt. Like any good business or household, we have to tighten our belt and the police cannot be an exception.
“I see no problem with outsourcing. Police working in the back office should be out in the community. We can get companies to do this work for less money and who are trained for it. Outsourcing is not new. But G4S, especially as recent events have done them no favours, should not be the only bidder. Why not local companies, or the NHS or the councils?
“It has to be done on merit with a business hat on.”
And how does he see the job?
Jas said: “My role will be as the link between the public and the police, which will be less bureaucratic and more democratic. Bottom-up rather than top-down.
“I cannot tell people we can employ more police officers because it cannot be funded.
“People will judge me on my record. As a councillor I served everyone irrespective of their party allegiances, background or ethnicity.
“The most important thing is experience. I can deliver. This is a very important and powerful role, representing 600,000 people.
“My primary objective will be to see the police prevent crime, detect crime and maintain peace.”