Police Elections

Tomorrow is polling day, to elect police commissioners in England and Wales.

Having elected people in this role is new: this will be the first time we’ve done it.  And it’s been remarkably quiet, with little news coverage and even less campaigning.  One could be forgiven for ignoring it, or just not noticing it.

I will cast my vote.  What persuaded me to take the trouble to find out about my local candidates was seeing who is against the changes.  Specifically, former police chief Sir Ian Blair – who was The Liar’s chief henchman and spearheaded our rapid move towards a police state in the first decade of this century.  When Blair urged people not to vote, that was enough for me: by voting I express my opposition to the police state.

In the absence of more detailed information, I was able to inform myself a little about the candidates using the police elections website.  For some inexplicable reason we seem to have far more candidates here in Devon&Cornwall than anywhere else.  Although there’s an element of “say what they’ll want to hear” in their election material, there’s sufficient information to conclude that some candidates appear better than others.

Posted on November 14, 2012, in uk. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. I’ll probably be the other voter in Tavistock (in fact, I’ve voted already as I have a postal vote). Unlike parliamentary elections, the hype has been non-existent and I expect turnout will be very low. Many people don’t even know these elections are happening, and I feel there’s little appetite for yet more elected members. I think most of us would rather be led by fewer, more capable and honest people.

    Be that as it may, however unwanted and pointless the Police and Crime Commissioner (will they really commission crimes?) elections may be, I do feel it’s appropriate to vote. Cynical I may be, but I’d rather participate in our imperfect democracy that have the government of the next ten years sorted out by faceless grey men in suits behind closed doors, as is currently happening in a rather large country a few thousand miles away.

  2. Ooops – dodgy spelling again. “That” should be “than” in my final sentence above.

  3. My assessment was:

    http://waters.me/uncategorized/election-of-police-and-crime-commissioner-for-devon-and-cornwall-area/

    Did you miss the email controversy?

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-20217216

    Made the Express and Echo front page, how much more news coverage can you get.

    I’m not sure being against the changes is a bad thing, my chosen candidate also opposed the changes. Whilst I’ve long thought the US system offers some advantages, I’ll reserve judgement on the commissioner role as it seems an odd role, and might well have better been pushed to the local authorities. Seems to set commissioner in an odd relationship with Chief Constable, and potentially responsible for a lot of public money which might otherwise have fallen under other local democratic control.

    Can we all agree that “Police and Crime Commissioner” is a bad title unless he is actually commissioning crimes?

  4. Oh, I’m sure he’ll be commissioning crimes. He won’t have a choice about that, no matter how well-intentioned😛

  5. First I’d heard of it. Which means the BBC hasn’t exactly been overloading its coverage, but that’s about all.

    Looking at this page doesn’t exactly fill me with euphoria. It looks to me poorly thought out.

    ‘Set the budget’ – err, how exactly? They’ll have a limited pool of money to use, so their room for manoeuvre boils down to “hand it all over, or keep some of it back (in the certain knowledge that the latter would mean they get less next year)”.

    “regularly engaging with the public and communities” – OK, so they’re a mouthpiece – someone has noticed that police commissioners are too prone to shooting their mouths off in public and they want someone with political/party discipline to replace them. This is probably a bad thing, IMO. It means you’ll get fewer headlines of the type “chief constable calls for legalisation of pot”.

    “appointing and, where necessary, dismissing the chief constable” – yeah, they’re trying to bring CCs under control. This means that the assurance in the next paragraph “who is arrested and how investigations work will not become political decisions” is pretty much a dead letter. Of course these things will be political decisions. (Whether they should be is arguable – there is a case, but I’d rather it were discussed openly than slipped under the door like this.)

    “an oath of impartiality” – good lord, what a strange requirement. Although on inspection, this turns out to be no more than a “without fear or favour” clause. How does this reconcile with candidates being nominated by political parties? If the candidate is answerable to a political party, they can’t possibly be impartial – it’s a contradiction wrapped in an absurdity wrapped in a smokescreen.

    Just to complete the picture, I see PCCs are themselves policed by unelected “panels” – by which I understand, “the local aristocracy or their cronies”. So if the measure is “democratic accountability for the police” – this is, on balance, probably a net reduction from the old system.

  6. Seems the Tory candidate won.

    Disappointed twice over: as a candidate he didn’t come near my shortlist, and in political terms I’d’ve preferred a candidate with no party affiliation. Even if I was prepared to be flexible on that rule and vote for independent candidates having party connections.

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