Can Ann pull it off again in the police poll fight?
The introduction of directly-elected police commissioners four years ago divided opinion. Despite the criticism, the second election takes place in May. Political editor looks ahead to the race
In 2012, Ann Barnes, the former chairman of Kent Police Authority, pulled off something of a coup when she succeeded in outmanoeuvring her political rivals to become Kent’s first elected police commissioner on a salary of £85,000.
Helped by Peter Carroll, a wily election campaigner for the Liberal Democrats, she masterminded a well-organised campaign that traded heavily on the public disquiet that commissioners would politicise policing.
As an independent candidate, her message was simple: vote for me if you don’t want party politics to get in the way of solving crime.
The as yet unanswered question is whether she intends to have another run at the role. If she does, and many expect she will, it would be a bold move.
Few commissioners have attracted as much attention, and she has stretched to its limits the conventional wisdom that there is no such thing as bad publicity.
A fiasco over the appointment of a youth commissioner, her participation in a Channel 4 documentary which led to widespread ridicule and a car crash in Dartford that led to an IPCC inquiry have blotted her copybook.
Could she win against such a chequered track record?
Bizarre though it might seem, it is not totally out of the question. There is still a sense that the role should be apolitical.
A crowded field and the unpredictability of where voters might express their second preference could aid her prospects.
On the other hand, rival candidates will waste no time during the campaign to remind the electorate of her track record.
And it is that which may, if she chooses to run, prove fatal to her chances.