THE man who could help lead the region’s police took to Sunderland’s streets to find out what issues are blighting the community.
Former detective inspector Phil Butler hit Sea Road, in Fulwell, as he gathered information about how the area could be improved and crime cut.
Businesses, including one which was recently left with a repair bill running into hundreds of pounds after a break-in and staff put forward ideas, while shoppers also made suggestions.
Mr Butler’s action day saw him visit other locations across Northumbria Police’s area as he campaigns to become its police and crime commissioner in elections to be held in November.
He has been put forward as the Conservative’s candidate and is running against Labour’s Vera Baird.
Mr Butler, who investigated fraud and once headed Northumbria’s economic crime unit, said: “Unbelievably, the first person I met had just had their car broken into during the night and that was an opportunist crime. Nothing was stolen, but it will leave her with a £75 excess to pay and that will have an impact on her.
“One of the suggestions from the businesses was to install CCTV cameras, as they said they already have them in Southwick and they believe that drives the criminals down to Fulwell.”
He said store owners had also suggested parking is allowed in the busy street, which would bring in more business and deter crime if more people were about.
He added: “The whole role of a policing commissioner is to give a voice to the community and during the election campaign I’ve been in Sunderland to speak on the ground.”
Mr Butler has been talking to St Michael’s Residents’ Association and hopes to make a visit to its area in October as his campaign continues.
More information can be found about his efforts at www.philbutler.org.uk.