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Hustings challenge on crime

Letters from the Fenland Citizen, fenlandcitizen.co.uk, @FenlandCit on Twitter
Letters from the Fenland Citizen, fenlandcitizen.co.uk, @FenlandCit on Twitter

As Labour’s candidate to be the next police and crime commissioner for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, I was in Wisbech on Saturday, March 19, talking to local people and listening to their concerns about crime in the face of cuts to police and PCSOs.

I challenge the PCC candidates from other parties to come to Fenland and tell the public how they’d deal with fear of crime in the community in the face of Tory cuts.

Certainly Wisbech people deserve better than to have a bunch of amateurs out on the streets patching up holes in professional policing brought about by Tory cuts, as suggested by your Tory town councillor Steve Tierney.

I’m urging voters to come to the polls for this vital local election – the only election being held in Fenland on May 5 – because it’s one way you have to address your fears about crime in the community. I have a plan to work with local forces to introduce a higher level of community policing by professional officers and PCSOs. I’m keen to pit my plan against what the other PCC candidates have to offer and get a proper debate going here in Wisbech.

I’m going to do just that against the Tory candidate at a south of the county hustings and would welcome the opportunity to do the same here.

Dave Baigent,

Labour candidate for PCC for Cambs and Peterborough.

email to mp

Why hasn’t he replied?

A few weeks ago, I emailed our MP, Stephen Barclay. I was saddened by the remarks made by his leader, the Prime Minister, when he referred to refugees in the camp at Calais as “a bunch of migrants”.

To date I have had no reply – not even the courtesy of an acknowledgement. I do realise that this is one of the safest Tory seats in the country.

I sometimes think that a lamp-post painted blue would be elected and that Mr Barclay only seems to surface at election times to get his face in the local papers – but I do wonder what he does for his parliamentary salary.

I don’t think I have ever seen him make an utterance at PMQs, or at any other time for that matter.

I presume he is only in the Commons to say “Yes, David” occasionally.

I should add that I have lived in places with Tory MPs before; I once lived in John Maples’ constituency, and whilst I strongly disagree with their politics, they were at least good constituency members who assisted their electorate when that assistance was required.

The MPs will soon be getting an above inflation increase to their salary (unlike other public servants).

Do people think Mr Barclay is worth the money we, the taxpayers, pay him?

Mitch Mitchell,


cannabis debate

It’s time to legalise it

In a welcome move, the Liberal Democrats have called for an end to the ‘war on drugs’.

At its spring conference, the Lib Dems endorsed a motion calling on the party to extend its support for the legalisation of cannabis for medical use to include recreational use.

This comes after a report from an expert panel was presented to conference.

The report showed that legalisation of cannabis could save the Exchequer £1 billion a year – with £200-£300 million saved in the criminal justice system, together with tax income of £400-£900 million.

The experience of Colorado, Oregon, Alaska, and Washington State, where cannabis is legal, is instructive.

In these four states cannabis is available from licensed outlets.

Some of the tax revenue generated has been used in the anti-cannabis education of minors.

Legalisation of cannabis brings quality control, labelling, and a public health education campaign similar to alcohol and tobacco.

The labelling of cannabis, like alcohol and tobacco, would allow users to choose between milder and stronger versions and different flavours.

A closely regulated market in cannabis would displace both the new synthetic ‘legal highs’ with their unknown effects and the high potency ‘skunk’ and other forms that have increasingly dominated the illicit market and have been linked to a higher risk of dependency and psychosis.

Cannabis has many good medicinal properties – including in the treatment of MS, Parkinson’s Disease, Crohn’s Disease, PTSD, glaucoma treatment, epileptic control, ADHD, rheumatism, arthritis, and asthma.

Cannabis – it’s time to legalise.

John Smithee,


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