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Festus Akinbusoye

Festus Akinbusoye

06/05/2021 - 03/05/2024

Former PCC

Festus Akinbusoye (born June 1978) is a British Conservative Party politician who was the Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner from 2021 to 2024. He was the first black Briton to serve as a Police and Crime Commissioner.

Akinbusoye stood as his party's candidate in the 2023 Mid Bedfordshire by-election following the resignation of Nadine Dorries. He lost the by-election, coming in second place to the Labour candidate Alistair Strathern.[1] His loss in Mid Bedfordshire was the biggest swing from Conservative to Labour in any parliamentary by-election since 1945.[2]

The following year, Akinbusoye lost re-election as Police and Crime Commissioner.


Early life and education

Born in Lagos, Nigeria to Nigerian parents, Akinbusoye emigrated in 1991, as a thirteen-year-old with his parents and twin sister. The family settled in Canning Town, East London.[3]

Akinbusoye studied at St Paul's Way School, and the City of Westminster College. He later studied at the London College of Printing and Distributive Trades at the University of the Arts London and read for a master's degree in international studies and diplomacy from the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London.[4]

Akinbusoye played basketball at university, and played professionally in what was then called the Budweiser British Basketball League. He has a collection of 40 Air Jordan basketball trainers.[5][6]


Political career

In his early career, Akinbusoye worked as senior parliamentary assistant to the Milton Keynes Conservative MPs Mark Lancaster, Iain Stewart and Ben Everitt.[4] Akinbusoye stood as a Conservative candidate in the West Ham constituency in the 2015 United Kingdom general election, a safe seat for the Labour Party, where he came second to the Labour candidate Lyn Brown.[7]

During the Brexit referendum campaign in 2016, Akinbusoye supported the remain campaign, and urged fellow black Britons to join him in voting to remain in the European Union.[8] Akinbusoye served as chairman of Milton Keynes Conservatives from 2018 to 2021, and on 15 June 2023, Akinbusoye was selected as the Conservative parliamentary candidate to contest the 2023 Mid Bedfordshire by-election.[9][4]


Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner

In the 2021 election, Akinbusoye was elected as Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner. In this role, he noted his experiences with stop and search as a young man growing up in London, and time mentoring young offenders in prison, as having shaped some of his approach towards policing.[10][11]

During an interview with Beth Rigby on Sky News, Akinbusoye supported the appropriate use of police stop and search powers, having used it himself when serving as a special constable in Bedfordshire Police.[11] Rigby asked about his reaction to the David Carrick case, and Akinbusoye said that "the public quite rightly expect there to be no bad apples" in British policing.[11]

Rigby talked about racism in British society, and mentioned that when Kwasi Kwarteng was Chancellor, a Labour MP said that Kwarteng was "superficially" black; Akinbusoye said "that was exceptionally, exceptionally disgusting; it was exceptionally in my view racist, and stereotyping in the worst way because he [the Labour MP] was suggesting that to be black you have to be able to speak a certain way, to be black you cannot go to Eton, or Oxford, or the top schools in the world because that's not what black people do."[11]

After being selected to contest the 2023 Mid Bedfordshire by-election, he was urged by his local crime panel to stand down as commissioner.[12] A subsequent public meeting revealed that the panel decision and open letter calling on Akinbusoye to step down as PCC while campaigning had not been seen nor agreed to by all panel members as the letter had stated, with a Liberal Democrat member describing the decision as "biased, unfair, undemocratic" and "borderline bullying" of Akinbusoye.[13]

In April 2024, Akinbusoye was reprimanded over social media posts he had made. Akinbusoye had alleged in a post that a member of the public had misused public funds. Akinbusoye said he "totally rejects and refutes the findings and will be responding fully as part of the formal process in due course".[14]

Akinbusoye lost the May 2024 election to Labour. He remarked of his tenure as PCC that he was "really proud of what has been done in three years".[15]


2023 Mid Bedfordshire by-election

Following the resignation of MP Nadine Dorries, Akinbusoye was selected by the Conservative Party as their candidate in the 2023 Mid Bedfordshire by-election. He lost to Labour candidate Alistair Strathern.[16]

In January, Akinbusoye announced on the Andy Collins BBC Three Counties Radio show that he would not be seeking selection for the next parliamentary election,[17] and would seek re-election for a second term as Bedfordshire's PCC.[18] He was unsuccessful in the resulting contest.[15]


Personal life

Akinbusoye lives in the Mid Bedfordshire constituency and is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.[19] Akinbusoye also runs a security business.[20]


References

  1. ^ Lewis, Katy (26 June 2023). "Festus Akinbusoye: MP candidate to continue police role while canvassing". BBC News. Retrieved 15 September 2023.

  2. ^ "Festus Akinbusoye". Battle of Ideas Festival. Academy of Ideas. Retrieved 9 May 2021.

  3. ^ Jump up to:a b c Akinbusoye, Festus (10 May 2021). "Festus Akinbusoye". LinkedIn. Retrieved 10 May 2021.(registration required)

  4. ^ Bloom, Dan (19 October 2023). "Sunak wakes up in a war zone". Politico Europe.

  5. ^ Akinbusoye, Festus (18 June 2016). "Why Black people in Britain should vote for Europe, by British-Nigerian politician Festus Akinbusoye". African Courier Media. Retrieved 18 June 2023.

  6. ^ Roffe, Erica (16 June 2023). "Nadine Dorries announces PCC Festus Akinbusoye is to stand as Tory candidate in Mid Beds by-election". Bedford Independent. Retrieved 18 June 2023.

  7. ^ Gadher, Dipesh (16 May 2021). "First black Police and Crime Commissioner: I've been stopped and searched but I back it". Sunday Times. Retrieved 16 May 2021.

  8. ^ Prickett, Katy (24 June 2023). "Mid-Bedfordshire Tory MP candidate asked to stand down as PCC". BBC News. Retrieved 24 June 2023.

  9. ^ Holmes, Amy (25 April 2024). "Bedfordshire crime commissioner reprimanded over social media posts". BBC News. Retrieved 26 April 2024.

  10. ^ Blewett, Sam (20 October 2023). "Labour wins Mid Bedfordshire in historic by-election result". The Independent. Retrieved 20 October 2023.

  11. ^ Holmes, Amy (18 January 2024). "Festus Akinbusoye: 'I have no interest in general election seat'". BBC News. Retrieved 20 February 2024.

  12. ^ Hutchinson, Paul (18 January 2024). "Festus Akinbusoye says he's seeking a second term as Bedfordshire PCC". Bedford Independent. Retrieved 20 February 2024.

  13. ^ Adcock, Malcolm; Woods, Fred E. (200). The Latter-day Saint Image in the British Mind. Greg Kofford Books. p. 143. ISBN 978-1-58958-558-4.

  14. ^ Day, Christopher (16 June 2023). "Candidates selected for Mid Bedfordshire by-election". The Comet. Retrieved 18 June 2023.


Akinbusoye emigrated to the UK from Nigeria as a thirteen-year-old with his parents and twin sister where they settled in Canning Town, East London.[3]

He studied at St Paul's Way School, Bow before studying A Levels at City of Westminster College. He graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Business Communications from London College of Printing and Distributive Trades and read for a Masters Degree in International Studies and Diplomacy at the School of Oriental and African Studies.[4]


Akinbusoye's experiences with Stop and Search as a young man growing up in London and time mentoring young offenders in prison shaped some of his approach towards policing.[5]


Political career

Akinbusoye has worked as Senior Parliamentary Assistant to Mark Lancaster, Iain Stewart and Ben Everitt.[4]

He stood as a Conservative candidate in the West Ham constituency in the 2015 United Kingdom general election coming second to Lyn Brown.[6]

Akinbusoye served as Chairman of Milton Keynes Conservatives from 2018 to 2021.[4]

References

  1. ^ Roffe, Erica (7 May 2021). "Festus Akinbusoye confirmed as Bedfordshire's new Police and Crime Commissioner". Bedford Independent. Progress Publishing. Retrieved 9 May 2021.

  2. ^ Rix, Bernard (11 May 2021). "PCC Election 2021: Results and Analysis". Policing Insight. CoPaCC. Retrieved 12 May 2021.(registration required)

  3. ^ "Festus Akinbusoye". Battle of Ideas Festival. Academy of Ideas. Retrieved 9 May 2021.

  4. ^ Jump up to:a b c Akinbusoye, Festus (10 May 2021). "Festus Akinbusoye". LinkedIn. Retrieved 10 May 2021.(registration required)

  5. ^ Gadher, Dipesh (16 May 2021). "First black Police and Crime Commissioner: I've been stopped and searched but I back it". Sunday Times. Retrieved 16 May 2021.

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