PCC CANDIDATE PROFILES: “Thames Valley Police should get more funding”

editorial image

Liberal Democrat candidate John Howson knows all about being a victim of crime and believes that he can use his own shocking experience to inform the police and crime commissioner role.

A teacher by trade, Mr Howson was the victim of a horrific incident which plummeted him first hand into a police investigation.

In 1977, while working as a teacher in Tottenham, Mr Howson was stabbed three times by a former pupil.

Speaking about the experience, he said: “He was a disgruntled ex-pupil who had been suspended by a special school and he had a grudge against the school I was working at.

“He came in on the first day of term and the first classroom with a teacher in that he recognised was mine. He broke my nose and stabbed me three times.

“My guardian angel was working overtime that day.

“But it means that I know what it’s like to be a victim of violent crime.”

After that incident Mr Howson went on to advise the Liberal Democrats on educational issues.

In 2001 he travelled to New York and Washington with the party’s spokesman Phil Willis to visit schools, and says that he was shocked by the level of security.

He said: “In one school they had metal detectors, and the were trying to work out how a pupil had managed to smuggle a gun into school the day before.

“Thankfully here incidents like my own are still rare, although we have seen two recently in the north.”

Mr Howson now lives in Oxford, where he serves on the county council. And he says that he will give up his role as a councillor if he is elected to avoid a conflict of interest.

He believes that Thames Valley Police deserves more funding, and says this is one of the things he will fight for if he is elected.

He said: “We have quite a lot of potentially high risk areas in the county, which take extra resources, for example Chequers.

“We also have more motorways than anywhere else in the county, the funding needs to take this into account.”

He added: “I have more than 20 years a magistrate in Oxfordshire and served as national deputy chair of the Magistrates’ Association. National oversight of the licensing law as it changed in the run up to the 2003 Licensing Act and monitoring of operation afterwards. I have worked with professionals and politicians of all Parties up to home secretary level so am not intimidated by a chief constable or a council leader.”