B&NES councillor to contest Police Commissioner contest.

B&NES councillor and cabinet member, Mark Shelford has been selected as the Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) candidate for Avon and Somerset.

Mark – an Army veteran of 32 years – was chosen by local Conservative members following a series of three meetings in Bristol, Somerton and Bridgwater.

He will contest the next PCC election in May 2020, aiming to take the role from Independent Sue Mountstevens.

Mark is the Bath and North East Somerset councillor for Lyncombe Ward, having been elected in 2015.

He is the cabinet member for sustainability, resilience, highways and transport and the Conservatives’ deputy group leader for Bath.

He says his priorities include fighting for a better deal for the police, probation and prison services, protecting and hopefully boosting officer numbers and working closely with sister organisations to tackle crime.

He also wants to focus on combatting drugs and rural crime, supporting vulnerable people and building closer links with hard-to-reach groups.

“I’m delighted and proud to be selected as the Conservative PCC candidate and I can’t wait to work hard on behalf of residents across Avon and Somerset,” said Mark.

“The Conservatives are the party of law and order and I’ll be doing everything I can to work with the police, government and other partners to tackle crime and keep people safe.

Local people are asking for more visible policing and it’s time for a change.

As a retired Army officer, I have a good understanding of the challenges in protecting the public and property and am looking forward to supporting and championing the police in their work.”

The PCC is responsible for setting the strategic direction and budget for policing in Avon and Somerset, which comprises the council areas of Somerset, Bristol, Bath and North East Somerset, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire.

Mark joined the Army in 1981 and retired as a Lieutenant Colonel in 2013, when he returned to Bath to set up a company specialising in training and simulation.