It's a new year and likely an election year. I’m not a political person, but want campaigns to be reasonable and locally relevant. The first leaflet that fell on the mat was from the Conservative candidate.

In the first of his six-point plan, he talks about policing and mentions “nearly 1,000 extra police officers in our area”. This caught my interest, as I couldn’t imagine there were 1,000 police across Farnham and Bordon in total, never mind nearly 1,000 “extra”.

Extra to when wasn’t mentioned, but after some online searching, I found some government information that was helpful. From 2015 to 2023, Surrey Police has added 344 officers, and Hampshire Police 458, which got me to 802 extra officers.

So, an increase, but over eight years and covering two entire constabularies with a large geography stretching from the Isle of Wight to East Surrey, so perhaps “in our area” is generous.

There may be another calculation that I missed, but that’s what I could find. 

He then asks, “but where are they?”. Well, some of them used to be familiar to locals here as they were based in Farnham police station, but that closed in 2012. He then encourages the cutting of bureaucracy to “get them out on the beat”. The Conservatives have been in office for 13 years now, so it would be great to hear what specifically he plans to do differently to Jeremy Hunt to achieve this. Maybe this will come out later in the campaign!

For those of you who will accuse me of being partisan, the Conservative leaflet was simply the first one through the door, but I hope the campaign brings two things.

Firstly, I hope that there are credible alternative candidates who stand to ensure that the voters in this new constituency have real choice in who represents them.

Secondly, I hope that all the candidates campaign in a transparent and respectful way. Election years are probably hard for the candidates, but undoubtedly also for the electorate!

Simon Cryer