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Sir Graham Bright, Cambridgeshire’s first police and crime commissioner and a former MP, dies at 81





Former Cambridgeshire police and crime commissioner Sir Graham Bright has been described as the “ultimate public servant” following his death at the age of 81.

Sir Graham served as an MP in Luton and as a Parliamentary Private Secretary to Cabinet members for 18 years - including to John Major during his first four years as Prime Minister, from 1990-94.

Former Cambridgeshire police and crime commissioner Sir Graham Bright, who has died at the age of 81
Former Cambridgeshire police and crime commissioner Sir Graham Bright, who has died at the age of 81

He was knighted in 1994 and was vice-chairman of the Conservative Party from 1994 to 1997.

He served as Cambridgeshire’s first police and crime commissioner, following the introduction of the role, between 2012 and 2016.

His family said in a statement: “It is with sadness that we announce the death of Sir Graham Bright. He died peacefully on 19th January 2024 aged 81, following a short illness having been cared for at Addenbrooke's Hospital and the Arthur Rank Hospice in Cambridge.

“We would like to thank all the dedicated doctors, nurses, healthcare assistants and other staff who looked after him during this time.

“During his political career which spanned over 50 years, from his time as a councillor to being a Member of Parliament and subsequently police and crime commissioner between 2012 and 2016, he was dedicated to public service and to making a difference to the lives of his constituents and those he worked with.”

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough’s current police and crime commissioner, Darryl Preston, said: “Sir Graham set the bar for how future commissioners would carry out the role, following their introduction in 2012.

“He was passionate about keeping people safe and introduced a number of innovative projects such as working with HMP Peterborough to help support people from reoffending and introducing a Police Cadets scheme to encourage young people into the profession. The partnerships he set up during his time in office remain to this day.

“Sir Graham was the ultimate public servant. He will be sadly missed.”

Born on April 2, 1942, Sir Graham was educated at Hassenbrook Secondary Modern School in Stanford-le-Hope and Thurrock Technical College.

He was a member of Thurrock Borough Council from 1965-79 and Essex County Council from 1967-70, standing unsuccessfully for Parliament in Thurrock twice and Dartford in 1970 and 1974, before being elected to Luton East in 1979. He switched to Luton South, following boundary changes, at the 1983 election and held the seat until defeat by Labour’s Margaret Moran in 1997.

He also worked as a marketing executive, factory manager and company director, spending more than 30 years as chairman and chief executive of Dietary Foods Ltd.

Cambridgeshire’s police and crime commissioner, Sir Graham Bright, right, helps open a new police contact point at Tesco, Wisbech.
Cambridgeshire’s police and crime commissioner, Sir Graham Bright, right, helps open a new police contact point at Tesco, Wisbech.

As Cambridgeshire’s PCC, he pledged to listen to the public and be the voice of the people.

Former chief constable Alec Wood said: “Sir Graham was a dedicated and committed public servant.

“As police and crime commissioner, he helped create the country’s first victims’ hub and his determination to help young people was evident in the creation of the Cambridgeshire’s police cadets scheme as well as through a number of initiatives to divert young people from crime.”

The Victims’ Hub - now the Victim and Witness Hub - was launched in 2014 to deliver support to victims of crime, a move that won national recognition and has been adopted elsewhere since.

Sir Graham also championed volunteering and supporting young people’s development, which included setting up the volunteer police cadet scheme - a project that inspires young people to participate positively in their communities and continues to grow.

He also worked on the force’s financial stability, overseeing significant transformation through the collaboration with other local police forces.

Sir Graham is survived by his wife, Lady Valerie, and son Rupert.



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