Police Commissioner elections

 

          It’s time to ask you what you think about the PCC elections so far.  We have a few more days to go before polling day.

            Police Commissioners will soon replace the little known Police Committees of co-opted Councillors. They have a duty to agree budgets, set policing priorities and handle complaints for their local police force. So far it has been a fairly quiet election. More recently the BBC has allowed more election debate on the topics that matter in the world of policing.

          Whether you wanted these new posts or not, they are coming and it makes sense to engage with the candidates and tell them what you want from your police force. The Commissioners will have to decide their own budgets – you may want them to keep that bit of the spending down. They need to work well with the Chief Constable, and of course avoid any interference with police independence when it comes to handling cases, collecting evidence and bringing prosecutions. They can make a difference in ensuring that the police service reflects people’s perceptions and worries about crime, by telling people what is happening in countering it, and ensuring resoruces are deployed where it matters. If you want particular types of crime targetted, or if you want a different style of policing, now is the time to say so.

          I was intrigued to hear the UKIP spokesman say as his number one wish  they wanted more women to be in these top jobs, only to  admit UKIP  has just two women candidates. Do you agree with them about more women in these roles?  I see that UKIP is  fighting 24 out of 41, and as so often leaving some of the most federalist areas of the country like South Wales, Gwent and Cleveland without any UKIP offering.   It would be good to have an update from UKIP supporters who are vocal on this site and regularly use it to urge people to vote UKIP in a way supporters of other parties do not do.  How do  they see their party’s fortunes going from here? Who should a UKIP supporter vote for where there is no UKIP candidate?  Do they expect a “break through” in the PCC elections where they do have candidates?

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79 Comments

  1. Duyfken
    Posted November 10, 2012 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    Your blogpost is all a bit of a tease, presumably to encourage the electorate to vote Tory rather than UKIP. Why either? To me, party politics should be moved aside and the candidates’ own character be the deciding factor for voters. That points to “independent” candidates but how would we know just how good any of them are – we could be getting another Ian Blair! It’s too much like selecting a pig in a poke.

    • Acorn
      Posted November 10, 2012 at 9:48 am | Permalink

      You need a “primary” election to get what you, me and hopefully a lot more of us want. The candidates choosing the political party they prefer, if any and not the party choosing the candidate we will be allowed to vote for.

    • Disaffected
      Posted November 10, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

      I thought the whole idea was to have independent PCCs not politically motivated politicians from any party? Was this another con by the Tory party? It is a waste of time, money and will have no tangible benefits. I suspect the Eton boy duo will realise this when they leave office.

  2. lifelogic
    Posted November 10, 2012 at 6:54 am | Permalink

    I am not sure on this, will it be better or worse than the current rather poor performance of police management. Will there be less corruption & nepotism in recruitment and less of the appalling Hillsborough cover up behaviour we have seen. The police consider crime a financial liability, reporting of it is discouraged and deterred all the time. Unless, of course, it is cash generative crime like speeding, bus lanes, parking, licence infringement and similar cash cows. Not to mention the questionable large cash generating “sponsorship” deals the police have and their cash generating powers of veto on large events like football matches.

    You mention UKIP and women. What UKIP clearly want is more women in these top jobs but only where they win them on merit. There is no contradiction in them having only two female candidates. Clearly if you do not select on merit (but on gender or even race grounds) you discredit the women or minorities who do actually get in as we saw with Baroness Warsi. Also you discriminate against the others and get worse candidates as a result.

    Women do not seem to want to apply for these jobs (nor would I). Given this, in order to get equal numbers, you are clearly going to have to either force them to apply or just accept inferior candidates and discriminate strongly against men.

  3. Nina Andreeva
    Posted November 10, 2012 at 6:56 am | Permalink

    The polling station is on my walk into work so it is not going to be too strenuous to go out and actually vote. The candidate who catches my eye in Bristol is an ex-cop and military policeman, however he is the Lib Dem so I am unlikely to see anything that I want put into practice. The candidate from traditional “law and order” party i.e. Conservative, his sole selling point is that he used to work for C&A. While the Labour candidate is currently serving on a NHS quango and now wants to offer his boundless talents to the fight against crime. There is also a “mumsnet” like independent too. With a line up like this you can see why the turnout is going to be miniscule.

    John, please could you give us a report on what the coalition has done to uphold law and order coz the only thing I am aware of is that you have made 10.000 coppers redundant. Why has “hug a hoodie” gone silent on law and order which even used to be a staple for liberal toffs in the past (remember Willie Whitelaw’s “short sharp shock”?)

    Reply: Crime is down 10% so far

    • alan jutson
      Posted November 10, 2012 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

      Reply to Reply

      Reported crime maybe down 10%.

      Many do not bother to report crime at all now, because all you get is a crime number when you do, and then nothing else happens.

      Thus what is the point.

      Son in Law had two attempted break ins at their property in the last two weeks, eventually I persueded him to report it to the police, he was told, “not surprised, your area is a hot spot at the moment”.

      Thus above proves my point.

      He lives in a constituancy where his MP is the HOME SECRETARY.

      On the other hand our Lions Club had a Charity Public firework display last week, and the Police attempted to hold our club responsible for some members of the Public who blocked a footpath wishing to view the event from outside (without paying).

      When I asked the Police if they were going to move them on, if they felt they were causing an obstruction, they said no, because it was OUR responsibility.

      Forgive me, but when did members of a voluntary organisation have the powers to move people on, when on a public highway !

      Sad too say it, but Policing nowadays is a bit of a farce really, it would seem they want to make up the law, rather than just enforce it !

    • John Doran
      Posted November 11, 2012 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

      If you follow police blogs like ” Inspector Gadget” John, you will realise that crime is down 10% because the frontline police forces, sorry, services have been cut back so far that there are 2/3 less police officers in some frontline response roles, that crimes are not being reported as efficiently as they were. In addition, police senior management team, sorry, police senior leadership team, are classifying as much crime as they can as “anti social behavior”, ie not crime.

      The phrase: “lies, damned lies, & govt statistics” comes to mind.

      To claim that crime is down 10% is pure sophistry, Mr Redwood, & is way below the level of competence, & honesty which is expected of you.
      To claim that crime is down 10% in times of financial hardship, when logically, crime must rise is beyond reason. To claim crime is down 10% when police budgets are being cut back 20% is way beyond reason.

      To claim that crime is down 10% when our totally inept Crown Prosecution Service, known fondly to our police as Couldn’t Prosecute Satan, are in position purely & simply as an agency to limit the number of police investigations going forward to become prosecutions, is almost laughable.

      To claim that crime is down 10% when magistrates are handing out meaningless ” Community Service Orders” to repeat burglars & drug dealers, with 27, 57, or 77 previous convictions, because our prisons are full with huge numbers of foreign criminals, who we can’t deport because of the EU, is little short of ludicrous Mr Redwood.

      To claim that crime is down 10% when our judges are handing out totally meaningless ‘concurrent’ sentences which are designed not to deter criminals, but to enrich lawyers, is enraging Mr Redwood.

      To claim that crime is down 10% when our prisons are holiday camps, where the warders have to address the inmates as “Mr”, is stretching credibility just a tad too far, Mr Redwood.

  4. lifelogic
    Posted November 10, 2012 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    Do UKIP expect a “break through” well certainly with the idiotic direction set by fake green, pro EU, tax, borrow, and waste Cameron they will have far more chance. But it will just spit the sensible vote and just help labour in the long run.

    Interesting to hear Lord Steel is in favour of cheap energy (on any questions) perhaps the only one in the Libdems, is he in the right party? Then again Cameron likes killing jobs with expensive green energy drivel too. Have they stopped the absurd subsidies and carbon capture drivel yet?

    • Nina Andreeva
      Posted November 10, 2012 at 8:19 am | Permalink

      UKIP only have one horse and that is Farrage. Without him they are nothing. For example the UKIP candidate pulled out of the race down here because he could not be bothered with it anymore. Merlin and co do you honestly think our host is going to defect to this lot?

      • Sean O'Hare
        Posted November 10, 2012 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

        Paul Nuttal the deputy leader has been pretty good on BBC Question Time on the rare occasions he has appeared on it. The reason you think Farage is our only horse is because he is the one, if any, that gets invited to speak on UKIPs behalf. I will admit that we are short of eloquent speakers, but even with their lack of eloquence they talk more sense than most politicians in the Lib/Lab/Con. Our esteemed host excepted of course!

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 10, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

      The elections are being held under SV, a form of the democracy-destroying AV, so it would be open to an elector to give his first preference vote to one candidate and his second preference vote to another candidate.

  5. Peter Richmond
    Posted November 10, 2012 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    There are quite a few candidates standing in Norfolk. Not having time to attend town meetings or indeed not being informed about any local meetings about the matter I checked out the details of candidates via the various web sites we were told about. Quite a few had still to provide information about themselves. Maybe they will amend this situation before polling day. But that is too late for me. Using the available data I have made my choice and voted by post.

  6. Cllr Warren Bennett
    Posted November 10, 2012 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    I agree with Peter above, not convinced at first by the need/process however we are where we are and little or no information on some candidates is worrying. I’d always vote for the Conservative candidate but pay an interest in the others background and policies. In Lancashire apart from the Labour and Conservatives the others are being almost secretive in what they stand for?

  7. A.Sedgwick
    Posted November 10, 2012 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    I thought that you were keeping quiet about UKIP until November 16 but I guess they are grateful for the publicity. Having watched their Corby candidate I was impressed unlike my view of the departing MP, which I guess opens up the debate about Cameron and women in politics.

  8. Julian
    Posted November 10, 2012 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    I have only received leaflets from one of my six local candidates, the Tory. She sent two leaflets, the first being incorporated with a postal vote form, to be returned either to the local Conservatives or to the Council. I am not comfortable with the increase in postal voting and find it particularly worrying that one party is soliciting postal votes including having the form sent back to them.

    Regarding the other candidates, my local paper has this weekend on page 8 half a dozen column centimetres on each candidate, that’s all.

    I’ll do my own research before voting but if there’s a low turnout, it’s not just the electorate who’s to blame.

  9. Old Albion
    Posted November 10, 2012 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    Can i be the first to say ‘i couldn’t care less’ ?

  10. ROGER THE PILOT
    Posted November 10, 2012 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    As I understand it, the whole idea is that these new Police and Crime Commissioners will be accountable in the first instance to the public, not the police or any political party. To achieve that objective therefore, the governance of policing must become impartial and non-political. Which in turn means that any candidate who is also a member of a political party cannot be totally impartial from government or party policies.

    Party members and political activists are by their very nature prejudiced and as always happens with politicians, some expect privileged access in exchange for supporting a particular candidate.

    In my opinion, a directly-elected police authority would have been a far better idea, but if this new police directive is to succeed, those candidates with a background built on political characteristics are inconsistent with policing because a modern day police force must, without fear or favour, equally serve all the people of ther region.

    Therefore, before anyone chooses their preferred candidate they must ask themselves whether this person will be able to override their party interests and put the wishes of their communities first. That should be the measure by which to elect a truly independent Police Commissioner.

    Reply: I see n othing wrong with party politics in the issues of how police priorities are determined and money is spent. If, however, people want a PCC who does not belong to a party they can always vote for one.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted November 10, 2012 at 9:28 am | Permalink

      Roger,
      I agree. Tribal party politics is the last thing we want if we are supposed to be making a change from the current multi-party police committees. I don’t think this change was necessary and wonder what is the real motive behind it. I am not inclined to vote but if I do I should not vote for any candidate with a party affiliation. In my region that gives me just one option as the parties have made sure it is difficult for independent candidates to stand against them.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 10, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

      Sure you can vote for an independent candidate, if there is one and you know that he exists. Apart from the £5000 deposit, my ballpark estimate for the cost of producing and delivering an election address to every household in the Thames Valley police area is £0.4 million, by far the greater part of that being the cost of delivery; the government unreasonably decided that there would not be free delivery of an election address for each candidate, as for general elections; so very few independent candidates will be able to afford to bring themselves to the notice of the electorate even at that basic level, and the field is left open for the official candidates of political parties with sufficient resources to pay those large costs.

      • alan jutson
        Posted November 10, 2012 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

        Dennis

        Agreed.

        I will certainly not be voting for any Political Party candidate.

        If there is not an independent, then I will spoil my paper by writing on it, why no independent candidate.

      • John Doran
        Posted November 12, 2012 at 1:20 am | Permalink

        I shall not be voting for the hugely experienced & honourable Ann Barnes in Kent, because I disbelieve in this entire process.

        I am hoping that an abysmally low turnout will rob this farce of any democratic credibility, & that this spineless govt will be forced into ( yet another ) u-turn. I’m not holding my breath, despite the electoral commission making rude noises in this direction.

        By setting a high deposit threshold of £5,000, & not advertising this election, & bearing in mind the huge electioneering costs estimated by John Cooper above, this govt has effectively sought to bring our police under ( rich?) political party control, rather than,as advertised, public control.

        & seeing as we have a red tory party, & a blue labour party, which you would have a job sliding a fag paper between, we effectively have a one party police state.

        The Gulag is two steps down the road.

        Question: what is wrong with the present Police Authority setup?

        • John Doran
          Posted November 12, 2012 at 1:34 am | Permalink

          Sorry, Dennis Cooper, not John.

    • Martin Ryder
      Posted November 10, 2012 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

      I disagree. I prefer to see the candidates’ political affiliations.

      I know none of the PCC candidates for Thames Valley. I have read their web-site statements about who they are and what they might do if they get the job but I do not know whether they are telling the truth or are able to do what they say that they will do. However four of the applicants have the support of a political party and that gives me an idea of their general political position and their mind-set.

      The two independents sound OK, though one is very young and inexperienced, but I have no idea of where they are coming from politically, and the PCC is a political role. To say that it should not be is being naive; this is the very stuff of politics.

  11. simon_c
    Posted November 10, 2012 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    I will be voting, but as they entire thing is a waste of time & money trying to provide more quango positions for ex politicians, I will be spoiling my paper.

    I really wish we had a “non of the above” option in this country & if that held the majority, a new election would have to be called.

    And why did the government not just throw out this entire ridiculous scheme ?

    Reply: I think it is worth voting and help choose the best person for an interesting job. However, for thsoe against they can always go to the polls and write across the ballot paper they want none of the above. That raises the issue of why didn’t you put up a candidate you do like? If you are simply against the whole idea of PCCs then you could write that on the ballot paper instead.

    • Mark
      Posted November 10, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

      The £5,000 deposit and requirement for 100 signatures as proposers is a very high hurdle for any potential candidate to surmount – certainly compared with standing for Parliament, or as a councillor (10 signatures, no deposit). Councillors make up 9 out of 17 appointees to Police Authorities at present.

      Looking at the practicalities, the spending limits on campaigns show a high variation according to the authority – ranging from £72,622 in Dyfed-Powys to £356,204 in Greater Manchester. These are very substantial sums for a private individual to raise, and the process is effectively rigged in favour of political parties. It would have been far better to ensure a single publication of candidate manifestos (with randomised printing order – easily managed by computerised printing – to ensure fairness), and a website with similar arrangements, including say a maximum of 1 hour of video, split into key issues, giving an opportunity for the candidates to present themselves. Statistics from links clicked on issues could inform questions to be asked in a local radio hustings. The idea would be to tease out the shades of prioritisation that candidates would give to different issues, so that voters could make a rational choice. Good coverage at low cost is the objective.

      Far better would be a requirement to show some relevant experience, rather than access to funds for a campaign. Part of the job requires managerial skills, similar to being a company chairman. Another part requires an understanding of criminal law and statistics, and the sociology of crime.

      These elections have been badly designed.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 10, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

      “That raises the issue of why didn’t you put up a candidate you do like?”

      Because apart from most people knowing nothing about these elections until very recently, basically only the large established political parties are organised to bear the large costs, starting with the £5000 deposit.

    • John Doran
      Posted November 12, 2012 at 1:31 am | Permalink

      I disagree entirely. If you turn up & vote, or spoil your paper, this govt will count you as a voter. this will make their turnout figures look better.

      I speak as a man who has spoiled his papers for years with ” No votes for lying, thieving incompetents”, following mad war in Iraq, & mass fraud in expenses.

      Low turnout figures is the way to disgrace this democratically suicidal step.

  12. Jerry
    Posted November 10, 2012 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    I suspect that these elections will be a disaster for both democracy and the Tory party, not because PCC’s are wrong, the problem is that many people simply do not know who to vote for (or even who the candidates are), were is the candidates mail shots, so far all anyone has had is a leaflet to tell us that these elections are happening – well that was a waste of money as our (postal) ballot cards dropping on the mat did that, why should people be expected to surf the web (assuming that they actually have access to the web). Rant over!

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 10, 2012 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

      For parliamentary elections each candidate is entitled to have an election address delivered to every household in the constituency free of charge. He pays for the leaflet, but not for the much larger cost of delivery to every household. In its wisdom(?) the government decided that there would no free delivery of candidates’ election addresses for these elections, even though the police areas are many times larger than parliamentary constituencies and therefore the delivery cost to be borne by a candidate is many times larger than it would be if there was no free delivery for a parliamentary election. For the Thames Valley police area my ballpark estimate is £0.4 million to produce, but above all to deliver, a leaflet to every household, and basically that can only be afforded by the larger political parties and even then not by all of them everywhere.

      • Jerry
        Posted November 10, 2012 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

        Actually for the Royal Mail I suspect that having such a wide area with all the same mail-shot the costs would actually be far less than for parliamentary or UK wide Local Authority elections, also given the likely hood of there being relativity few candidates for each PCC area a basic message (limited to say one side of A5 at 12pt plus heading) could have been included in a similar publication as has been sent by The Electoral Commission. Also, don’t forget that RM is state owned and thus could be instructed to deliver such electoral mail for free, why does HMG have to in effect pay its self to deliver its own mail, or is that being to stupid in this day and age of officialdom and jobsworth?…

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted November 11, 2012 at 9:03 am | Permalink

          RM is state owned, still, but it is not part of HMG.

          Like the Bank of England is state owned, but not part of HMG.

          In both cases the state owned organisation is expected to keep its own separate, full and proper accounts, which should show any transfers to and from other bodies including the Treasury; without those separate accounts it would become impossible to assess the financial position or performance of the state owned body, or indeed of HMG to the extent that it’s been using resources but not paying for them.

          So while in the end it does become circular it’s better to have HMG make the normal payment to RM for a service rendered, than to have a note to the RM accounts saying that a service with a certain value was rendered to HMG but HMG didn’t pay for it.

          • Jerry
            Posted November 11, 2012 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

            @Denis Cooper: In other words, we must keep the pen pushing accountants in employment…

  13. Bryan
    Posted November 10, 2012 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    In my neck of the woods – what PCC elections?

  14. Horatio McSherry
    Posted November 10, 2012 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    I think the BBC’s programme was more like a hatchet job…helped greatly by the way the political parties have hijacked and demeaned the process.

    • Posted November 10, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

      “Do you agree with them about more women in these roles?”

      ONLY if they are the most able candidate and NOT just because it happens to be a woman!

    • Posted November 10, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

      Too true – the American was quickly shut out because he was brash enough to come out with the nonsenses of mixing up a “living” wage with a “minimum wage” both of which simply raise the entrance barrier for new people on the labour market.
      Over 95% of ALL businesses (UK and Europe) are Micro or Small. If they can’t afford to employ people then they won’t/can’t. Many people just want part-time pin money but are denied even this because the majority of firms simply can’t pay.

      • Bazman
        Posted November 10, 2012 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

        For many this so called ‘pin money’ is their only income. 95% of peole who work for business just want ‘pin money it could be read and in the case of large companies making massive profits and paying minimum wage read won’t pay. What planet are you on with your pension? Ram it.

  15. a-Tracy
    Posted November 10, 2012 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    Who asked for police commissioners?
    What is their purpose?
    How does it improve the role of the police, and how is this to be measured?
    How does it help the voters?
    How does it help serving police personnel to do their job better?

    I have concerns this is just another political job placement opportunity for politicians that are wanted to me moved sidewards.

    How on earth has he money been found for the elections alone? When the money can’t be found for a referendum on Europe which more people have asked for?

    Personally I strongly feel this is a huge waste of money and the Chief Inspectors and other higher ups should already be doing their jobs properly without another layer over them. If you have a problem with a police force in a particular region then remove people through proper process. Without yet another cost of further checker uppers.

    I can see exactly why women don’t get into these arenas, because many women don’t like direct confrontation and that is how these roles appear to work. Plus many of our more aggressive women that could deal with this challenge don’t like towing the party lines. The majority of women I know don’t care how many women are in parliament or elected to the local council. The majority just care about their own families, friends, jobs and immediate locality and if anything happens to affect that local set up they will activate and be very vocal, but once that problem has gone away they too wish to return to normal. When they do need to activate it is often a voluntary activity and self funded how many of our legitimate paid representatives even buy their own paper lips.

  16. Atlas
    Posted November 10, 2012 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    I think I shall not be voting. I don’t want a party political hack doing such a job. I think this whole thing has been a stupid move by Cameron – either that or he is cunningly using these folk as a shield from complaints arising from his cutting the Police budget.

    Our Police now seem more concerned to keep the state and its apparachniks safe than the welfare of general populus.

  17. David John Wilson
    Posted November 10, 2012 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    I have not failed to vote in an election since I qualified to vote over fifty years ago. However in this election I have no information that allows me to choose between the various candidates. I certainly won’t be voting on party lines and lacking information will possibly decide to vote for the independent candidates. However my most likely course will be to deliberately spoil my paper in protest at being to asked to vote in an election where the voters are left completely ignorant about the suitability of the candidates for the post.

  18. Acorn
    Posted November 10, 2012 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    PCC would make more sense if we had a local police force, but we don’t. We have a national police force responsible to the Home Office with circa 43 territorial offices (E&W); with ACPO deciding what is policed and what isn’t, in all of them. The lucky ones who get elected to this new nice little earner / pension supplement, will have even less impact than the previous authority; unless he gets a lot of TV time.

  19. Credible
    Posted November 10, 2012 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    I didn’t have the faintest idea who the candidates are for Thames Valley Police or what they stand for or what the implications of my vote would be. Now I have done some investigation it turns out that none of the candidates knows anything very much about policing. As I have no expertise in policing myself I don’t see that I could make an informed decision on the best candidate, and since the candidates don’t seem to offer very much except party politics I don’t see the point in voting.
    It was pointed out on a previous post that the former chairman of the Thames Valley Police Authority has pulled out because he can’t afford to lose the £5000 deposit.

    So we have a situation in which the police force is going to be governed along party political lines by people with insufficient understanding of the police, voted in by people who don’t really know what they are voting for, and only people with wealth or in a big party machine will be able to stand.

    This is not democracy. This is big government trying to have political influence when it should be best left to the trained experts.

    John, you say “Whether you wanted these new posts or not, they are coming and it makes sense to engage with the candidates and tell them what you want from your police force.”
    Actually the question should be why these posts have been imposed without a democratic process. When this sort of thing happens in the EU you are the first to complain. As for engaging, the candidates will be campaigning on popularist policies and then once elected they will do the will of their party. The police should be independent of politics.

    Reply: these posts were in the manifesto, and were approved by Parliament.

    • Credible
      Posted November 10, 2012 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

      I don’t believe this is wanted by most people. Politicians want influence over the police.
      As for manifestos. There is no democracy or honour in selectively implementing some things in a manifesto and not others once in power.

    • John Doran
      Posted November 12, 2012 at 1:51 am | Permalink

      So was a referendum on EU membership. Exactly as the previous Labour manifesto. That is part of the reason why democracy is dying in this country. Politicians words mean nothing. Politicians written words mean nothing. Manifestos mean nothing.

  20. Robert Eve
    Posted November 10, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    UKIP want to ditch the CPS.

    Sounds good to me.

    • uanime5
      Posted November 10, 2012 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

      Do they plan to replace the CPS with something else or aren’t UKIP going to prosecute criminals if they get elected?

  21. forthurst
    Posted November 10, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    First of all I note that the method of election will by means of the ‘Supplementary’ voting system, not to be confused with the ‘Alternative’ voting system which was soundly rejected by the electorate. In the entirely different ‘Supplementary’ voting system, voters will only be able to select one alternative for a one person post, so, yes, entirely different.

    The selected police commissioner will live in one part of the Police Area which may be far removed from the major conurbation where most of the ‘action’ takes place, or where the chielf Constable has his office.

    Having scanned the candidates for my local area, it is in most cases quite hard to determine how qualified they are. When people put themselves forward for positions in the private sector, they normally find it expedient to account for all their time as an adult, if they wish to be taken seriously as a candidate; why does this not apply for public office? Is this why there are so many crooks and shysters in politics?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 10, 2012 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

      :-)

      Here is a letter I had printed in our local newspaper on May 5th 2011:

      “Dear Sir

      After everything that the Tories and NO2AV are now telling them about the glories of the First Past The Post (FPTP) electoral system and the evils of the Alternative Vote (AV), people may be surprised next year when they are asked to vote for local police commissioners.

      Under the Bill promoted by Home Secretary Theresa May, presently with the Lords, the new police commissioners will not be elected by FPTP but by a form of AV.

      So no worries there, then, about the supposedly dangerous AV destroying the core democratic principle of “one person one vote”, or possibly allowing BNP candidates to get elected.

      Yours etc”

      • forthurst
        Posted November 10, 2012 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

        Your always ahead of the game, Dennis!

        I happened to catch Sir Peter Bottomley on the telly at the time of the AV vote, announcing that the AV system had been selected because it would keep the BNP out. By implication, a proper PR system might let in extremists like the BNP, which Sir Peter, a founding member of the anti-fascist UAF would abhor. I thought the hope of the AV system would be that it would rather advantage the Liberal Democrats with their very moderate policies of abolishing my nationhood and my ethnicity and merging me into a monolithic highly-spiced Euro-soup.

  22. Muddyman
    Posted November 10, 2012 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    Having consistently voted for over 60 years this is the first time to refuse.
    Politicising the Police is a very bad move, time to call a halt.

  23. Denis Cooper
    Posted November 10, 2012 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    “Police Commissioners will soon replace the little known Police Committees of co-opted Councillors.”

    To be honest I would have preferred direct elections of members of the police committees, and by the Single Transferrable Vote system to give a spread of political allegiances on the committee, plus of course the non-political members.

    But even that would not make Thames Valley police my “local” police force, not when its area covers three counties and an added-on unitary authority; as repeatedly pointed out to Daniel Hannan MEP over the past decade or so whenever he referred to “electing your local sheriff”.

    • John Doran
      Posted November 12, 2012 at 2:00 am | Permalink

      Thank you Denis. Sorry I miss- spelled your name.
      Twice.
      Ahem.

  24. Posted November 10, 2012 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    Other than the polling cards, which came through the door the other day, I have seen nothing, not even a leaflet. In this Internet age I suppose this is to be expected now.

    I did go on the Internet and was disappointed that the candidates are all attached to political parties. As you say the existing police committees are made up with local councillors, magistrates and others.

    What is not on the Internet is the total cost of their employment, we know the salary, but what about other perks, pension costs and severance pay, particularly golden handshakes. What about support staff, how many, at what cost and who pays them. Information seems to be lacking, particularly real figures. More Quango like gravy trains.

    I am not sure I like the idea of elected Police Commissioners.

    I shall vote UKIP first, Tory second.

    • Credible
      Posted November 10, 2012 at 11:02 pm | Permalink

      Why don’t we save a lot of money and just allocate police commissioners according to the number of votes for their party in the general election, since it seems everyone will vote like that anyway.
      It would make it impossible for independent candidates, but that is the case anyway.

  25. John Orchard
    Posted November 10, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    In Surrey we have a retired ex Chief Superintendant acting Commander who has a wealth of experience. I suppose some would think Poacher turned Gamekeeper but really that is what is required for this post, I am an ex PC myself. I don’t think he will win although he gets my vote.It will probably be the Tory candidate who although a Magistrate does not fill me with much confidence as we have seen in the press how inefective they are in handing out sentences just like the Judges. I realise the role is to oversee the Police to make sure they are doing the job they are paid for and the CPS are in charge of cases going to Court ( or not ) but the public want villains off the streets and better Police reponse and accountability.

    • alan jutson
      Posted November 10, 2012 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

      John

      You complain about magistrates sentencing.
      But
      Are they (magistrates) not controlled by Home Office guidelines ?

      Think you will find that in more recent times their (magistrates) power on sentencing has been curtailed somewhat.

      Thus we already have political influence, the last thing I suggest we need are more political representitives.

  26. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted November 10, 2012 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

    Throughout the past week, I have been delivering leaflets on behalf of Michael Mates, who is standing as Conservative candidate for Hampshire PCC. Mr Mates has an interesting history (Private Eye Issue 1325). He is also a 78 year old Europhile who championed Michael Heseltine for Tory leader. Let nobody say that I am not a team player.

    Still, the past is the past and we should look at the platform he is standing on. He will bear down hard on crime and cut out the red tape (I too am in favour of motherhood and apple pie). He will also inaugurate a high tech system of e-petitions and will take into account the population density in each petitioner’s location, implying that (for a given number of signatories) petitions from low density areas will be weighted more highly (the phrase “rotten borough” comes to mind). To date, that seems to be his entire platform; nothing about whether or not laws eminating from Brussels will be given higher priority.

    Giving out leaflets is one thing; what goes on in the privacy of the polling booth quite another. A word of advice to all Conservatives in all elections: if you don’t want Europhile representatives, you don’t have to vote for them.

  27. Barbara Stevens
    Posted November 10, 2012 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

    Well Mr R, when I opened the postal ballot papers I was quite confused as to why we had two votes; nothing in the information told us what sort of voting system we were voting under. I would have preferred first passed the post, or the one with the most votes, which to me always seems the fairest. I have voted, and my choice was UKIP 1st, Conservative 2nd. The others didn’t get a look in, in fact if he two above hadn’t been listed I would have not voted.
    Why have I chosen what I have?
    Simply, because the UKIP candidate has not talked party politics at all in the local press, he’s concentrated on police matters and how he will attempt to rectify them. The obvious 2nd choice, was because I found this candidate almost the best, but not did not offer the same as the UKIP candidate, and didn’t seem so sincere. However, as we have a Conservative in government, I thought having fresh candidates would be better, so no uncertain influences could play in. I’m still not sure how the counting of the said votes will rack up, if one does not meet the target I assume the 2nd takes all the votes. Am I wrong on this. That’s what annoys, changing a voting system we all know to one we are not familiar with. Why was this done without public consultation? However the votes have been done and that’s the main thing.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 10, 2012 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

      It’s Supplementary Vote, a form of the democracy-destroying and baby-killing Alternative Vote system used by uncivilised nations such as the Australians but roundly rejected by the UK electorate in the 2011 referendum, but with the voter restricted to expressing his order of preference between at most two of the candidates.

      Schedule 9 here:

      http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2011/13/schedule/9

      explains how it works.

  28. Graham
    Posted November 10, 2012 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think it will be too long before tales of excess and misappropriation appear.

    In our region (Mr -ed) Prescott will be holding court from his favourite Chinese restaurant .

    He’s bound to get in – a monkey with a red rosette would be elected in Hull – which has an abundance of political illiterates.

    • Credible
      Posted November 10, 2012 at 11:09 pm | Permalink

      Seems that from the posts on here a monkey with a purple or blue rosette would be elected in some other areas.
      Not much thought will go into the best candidate for the job.

  29. Sean O'Hare
    Posted November 10, 2012 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

    To be honest I wasn’t going to bother voting, but then I discovered Unite’s Clare Moody was standing for Labour. I don’t think she stands an earthly of getting elected, but just in case I will now go and vote. The only leaflet I have received has been from the Conservative candidate, but I know UKIP are fielding a candidate so, being a member and all, I will probably vote for him. I really would have preferred it if UKIP had not bothered to field candidates as I feel it is a complete waste of time and money.

  30. David Hope
    Posted November 10, 2012 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

    Can’t resist a little dig…don’t forget that labour and controlling big staters are the real enemy, not UKIP!

    As for the commissioners I’d like to have seen more publicity – those not into politics have no idea they are even happening. I do believe it’s a good thing. People can’t complain about officers spending all their time on diversity training and traffic rather than robbery if it’s what they vote for.

    With both this, local government changes (e.g. mayors) and lords reform its disappointing to see the usual suspects turning up. Here and the Lords I’d like political parties and recent members banned from standing to give independents a chance without having to match the financial clout of a party machine. It’d also improve the integrity of the post beyond just being used for party points scoring.
    Many are turned off by moves for more accountable officials because of the way it always seems to end up as a stitch up by the political class. It feels as though jobs are rotated between europe, the lords, committees, and now this. We want fresh independent people, not failed politicians!

  31. Bert Young
    Posted November 10, 2012 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

    I regret that this election has been made “political” ; in my view all candidates should be independent . I feel disinclined to vote as with most of my friends .

  32. uanime5
    Posted November 10, 2012 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

    Given that people have almost no clue what the Commissioner is meant to do, who their local candidates are, or what their local candidates’ policies are I predict that very few people will bother voting.

    It’s difficult enough to just find out how the voting system works and how the second column is used.

  33. Posted November 10, 2012 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

    I will be writing “NONE OF THE ABOVE” on my ballot paper. I only have political appointees to vote on so there is no point. A police commissioner must not have any political leanings to be able to do their job. Their job is law and order and there is no left or right in it. And you can’t have the public saying one type of crime should be concentrated on over another, all crimes should be covered according to the actual situation on the ground. So it shouldn’t be middle class voters calling for youths to be banned from the street when there is no crimes being committed by them.

    • Credible
      Posted November 10, 2012 at 11:11 pm | Permalink

      Well said.

  34. Posted November 11, 2012 at 12:25 am | Permalink

    Hello John,

    The issue of bringing women into these jobs is very interesting.

    I’ve been watching how the canvassing has been going here in Cumbria where we have two male and two female candidates. I’ve been particularly interested by what’s happened in one very deprived area of the county where quite serious allegations about police conduct have suddenly started to appear on Facebook. Because I know people in the community involved I know what’s publicly visible of those allegations is only the tiny tip of an iceberg of discussion on private Facebook pages and I also have reason to believe the allegations are credible. Those making allegations have contacted the candidates for comments and I’ve watched what’s happened with interest.

    Neither of the men are on Facebook and they don’t seem to have responded at all. Both the women are on Facebook and have responded – one briefly and one in some depth. The one who has responded in depth has also responded to all the other questions asked on her Facebook page as many times as is needed for people to feel that their questions have been answered as fully as they would like.

    I think the skills these women are showing on Facebook would make them able to do a better job. Of course it’s not just women who have these skills but in general, at the minute, it’s the strong women who can handle very tough and highly personal issues well not only in real life but also through Facebook.

    As I’ve said on some of my other posts on your blog, the world is changing and it’s changing very rapidly and, on balance I think, significantly for the better. It’s fascinating to watch.

    Reply: It is not fair to the police to say unstated allegations are serious. If people have allegations to make they should produce them with evidence to the authorities.

    • Posted November 11, 2012 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

      How do you suggest that you would produce the evidence that after you’d been arrested for no crime your clothes were stripped off you with a knife and you were watched naked and put in stress positions John?

      • Posted November 11, 2012 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

        John in 2010 a substantial battle was won in Scotland when European law was used to overrule the Scottish system where it was, until then, not necessary to interview people who are arrested with a lawyer present.

        If you have no insight into why people fought for that change in the law please do feel free to contact me and I can arrange for someone much brighter and more credible than you to give you personal blow by blow account of why it was so necessary.

      • John Doran
        Posted November 12, 2012 at 2:36 am | Permalink

        Our police are besieged by complaints from the low-lifes they try to protect us from. Some good coppers regard these complaints as a badge of honour. If they are doing their jobs properly, then the scum will complain. Conversely, if they have no complaints against them, are they goldbricking, sliding on by, doing the bare minimum to avoid the sack?
        If you follow ” Inspector Gadget’s” blog, you will realise, Rebecca, that increasing numbers of police are now doing the bare minimum, & looking to get out.

        Look forward to a country policed by G4S, (under a different name :) )
        & just as competently as they staffed the Olympics.

        • Posted November 12, 2012 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

          Are you suggesting the my friends are low life scum John Doran? On what grounds?

          Obviously if you are every unluckly enough to be wrongly arrested and you find that you meet one of the wrong kind of officers and you complained about it then that would make you scum wouldn’t it? Or is it your position that you would put up and shut up and let the same happen to others and you think that would make you not scum? Please do elaborate on what you would do.

          As someone who’s used to teaching the some of our more challenging 16-year-olds maths I wouldn’t ever dream of doing the bare minimum and have come straight back into work to carry on despite being assaulted several times. Can I politely suggest to you that those police who are doing the bare minimum as I agree some are leave right now and that would leave those who are doing good jobs standing after the cutbacks with no loss to the public? If they’ve done their jobs with dignity and respect for those around them they should be accepted back into the society of those they have police and not need their uniforms to protect them.

    • John Doran
      Posted November 12, 2012 at 2:19 am | Permalink

      Yes. Quite so.

    • Lindsay McDougall
      Posted November 13, 2012 at 12:54 am | Permalink

      The important point about these “jobs” is that Parliament and the EU between them have produced too much law, more than the police have man hours to enforce. What other reason is there to have a Police and Crime Commissioner to set priorities? That is their role and you only have to read their very limited sales pitch to see that that is how the candidates perceive it.

      You shouldn’t be discussing whether women would be better at these “jobs” than men. You should be discussing whether the “jobs” are necessary at all. The alternative is in principle simple; just repeal a number of laws.

      • Posted November 13, 2012 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

        Rather than starting with the number of laws Lindsay it’s better to start with society and the people who need a police system to support and protect them.

  35. David Langley
    Posted November 11, 2012 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    Well John, I am a UKIP supporter as you probably know by my previous posts. I have met one of the women UKIP candidates for PCC, Louise Bours recently and she comes across as a very sensible person who will be able to sort out the priorities as they are presented to her by the various responsible parties in our region. It is true that UKIP as a young and growing party will have the usual fellow travellers and hangers on, but it is the policies that we must vote for in the end. A lot of presently elected MPs have proved themselves to be idiots, thieves and people of low morality. In other words your average members of society. Lets not get blinded by personalities but go for the throat of the bad policies that are ruining the country, followed by the people who espouse any crap policies that will do them good.
    Regarding competence, good question, I have not seen the job description so could not judge the candidate. The media seems to think that Soloman like the PCC will be able to wisely adjudicate what is best for us all regarding security and law enforcement, using the money granted to this task properly and proportionately. The job sounds a bit hard to me, but with the correctly motivated dictator could be brilliant, but someone who is just interested in themselves an expensive disaster.

  36. Jon
    Posted November 11, 2012 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

    I do exercise my right to vote however this time? I’ve not received any leaflets etc, doesn’t surprise me, its expensive to run a campaign. Okay I can do the research myself but I do have doubts about this one.

  37. Posted November 12, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    I think you may find that the proposed change re the Oath of Allegiance thought up for elected Police Commissioners is unlawful, for the true Oath is lodged in various Constitutional Documents one of which is the Declaration and Bill of Rights 1688/9. The Oath of Allegiance has its origins in the Magna Carta, signed on 15 June 1215.

    A summary of “The Parliamentary Oath” research paper produced by the House of Commons in 2000 states that,

    “even if the entire country were to vote in a general election for a party whose manifesto pledge was to remove the monarchy, it would be impossible by reason of the present oath, and current acts of parliament, for such elected MPs to take their seats in the House of Commons, or be raised to the House of Lords, without taking this Oath of Allegiance to the ruling monarch, and to her heirs, and successors. However, there would be nothing to prevent a Parliamentary majority debating a republic or from seeking to renegotiate the constitutional settlement since freedom of speech is guaranteed by article 9 of the Bill of Rights 1689″.

    So, as it stands, the lock keeps out those who are not prepared to show allegiance to the Crown. In the oath we already have a constitutional lock in practice, but that raises the issue of challenges to the requirement to take the oath”.

    The elected Police Commissioners therefore should and must so swear allegiance to the British Crown. I would suggest that any elected Member of Parliament that has already so swore the Oath of Allegiance to the British Crown and suggests that others in such as even connected to the Police that have also sworn allegiance to the Crown and is connected to the police in any way OR IN TITLE, should and must also so swear allegiance to the British Crown.

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood has been the Member of Parliament for Wokingham since 1987. First attending Kent College, Canterbury, he graduated from Magdalen College, and has a DPhil from All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.
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