A RETIRED army colonel who is bidding to become Cumbria's next police and crime commissioner helped co-ordinate the international response to the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone.

Peter McCall is standing for the Conservative Party and will contest the county's police and crime commissioner election on May 5.

The 56-year-old served in the Royal Logistics Corps and last year was based in Freetown where he oversaw the relief and military effort to deal with the crisis which claimed the lives of more than 11,000 people in west Africa.

Col McCall, who lives in Hesket Newmarket, has set a series of priorities for Cumbria he would deliver if elected to the position.

Speaking to the Evening Mail, he said: "I retired early to stand for this job because I'm convinced my military experience fits me well for the job.

"It needs good administration and leadership and I'm well up for it.

"This time last year I was in Sierra Leone heading up the military teams response to Ebola.

"Our role was to coordinate the efforts of the NGOs (non-governmental organisations) and the local police, village chiefs and the health agencies.

"We went from building treatment centres in the jungle to burying bodies when we got there and creating an education programme."

Col McCall said he was aware of the challenges posed in Cumbria with the police budget and wanted to campaign around the idea of "we not they".

He said: "The government has protected the funding and I spoke to Theresa May and the prime minister who both absolutely assured me of that.

"We know the budget isn't going to get any bigger. 

"We need to put more effort on the frontline."

Some of the issues that Col McCall will campaign on include a zero tolerance approach towards anti-social behaviour and domestic violence, and the establishment of a parish constable-type role where somebody locally is a recognised face to report crime informally.

The first ever police and crime commissioner election in Cumbria in 2012 saw a turnout of just 16 per cent.

Other political parties are expected to announce their candidates in the coming weeks to succeed Conservative Richard Rhodes, who has already said he will not be seeking re-election.

Peter McCall profile

Age: 56

Home: Hesket Newmarket

Education: Former head boy at Nelson Thomlinson School in Wigton

Experience: Joined the Army in 1982; previously served in Germany, Northern Ireland and Cyprus; commanded a squadron in Bosnia; helped in the coordination of the mission to combat the severe outbreak of Ebola in Sierra Leone.

Priorities if elected:  Zero tolerance approach to anti-social behaviour and domestic violence; bringing back the notion of a parish constable role; an identified person in the community for residents to contact; come up with an approach to tackle emerging crimes such as cybercrime by working with other police forces; better approach to dealing with people with mental health issues to stop vulnerable people being put in police cells after arrest; supporting victims of crime.