Col Tim Collins to run for Kent police commissioner role

A former Army officer famed for his inspirational speech on the eve of the Iraq War wants to become Kent’s first elected police commissioner.

Col Tim Collins will announce this week that he will run for selection as a Conservative candidate for one of the new £120,000-a-year posts to be introduced next year.

The 51-year-old, who lives in Whitstable, told the Sunday Telegraph he was inspired by the achievements of former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, who reduced crime through tougher policing.

He added: “This is a job for someone energetic and who is willing to work with the chief constable.

“It is important that it doesn’t become just a talking shop for knackered old policemen or a sunset gig for some trough-loving councillor.

“I bring an experience of leadership at a high level. I think many of the failings in Kent are down to weak commanders and would seek to bring my military and commercial experience to weed out the weak to make the most of tight budgets.”

“I have a good relationship with the police in Kent. I have friends there who were very kind to me when I was leaving the Army and wondering what to do.

“In general, the force is ‘match fit’, but there are a lot of things that can be done better. I, like many, get frustrated by the few struggling local commanders who would rather make offences go away than investigate them. That is the fault of misplaced enthusiasm for crime figures and people who are determined to be promoted at all costs and don’t want to investigate crimes so that they can keep a clean sheet.”

Col Collins was born in Belfast and served in Bosnia, Kosovo and Iraq before quitting in 2004 after becoming disillusioned. He now runs a firm training foreign policemen.

He was awarded the OBE after making a rousing speech to his troops in Kuwait as they prepared to liberate Iraq, in March 2003. A copy of his address was hung in the Oval Office by then-President George W Bush.

The role of Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) will replace the existing police authority structure, which in Kent is currently chaired by Ann Barnes.