Choosing a candidate for Police and Crime Commissioner

On Saturday evening I attended with other Conservatives one of three party meetings to select our candidate for the Thames Valley Police Authority PCC elections.

The role of Police and Crime Commissioner has on the whole failed to capture the public imagination, with low turnouts in past elections for the role. This is a pity, as the job should be an important one. I myself was no enthusiast for this particular constitutional change, when Mrs May decided we needed to move on from Councillor Police committees to a directly elected head ,but now we have them it is important to try to make them work well.

The PCC is the man or woman who appoints the Chief Constable and who works with the Chief Constable on budgets and strategic direction of the police force. The PCC does not interfere in day to day policing or operational matters. It is not the PCC’s job to direct the police to pursue this criminal  rather than that one or to prosecute X and not Y. The PCC does not have the training and powers of a police officer to investigate and arrest suspects. It is the PCC’s job to understand what the pubic wants and expects of its police service, and to set priorities, targets and direction for the police in discussion with the Chief Constable. The PCC is both there to lobby MPs and Ministers for the extra money their Chief Constable wants, and to help the Chief Constable establish priorities and create more efficient ways of doing things in the light of the budgets available.

The selection meeting was a good opportunity to review current policing and to send some messages about what the public priorities are. I pointed out that the public say they  want more targeted action on drugs, gangs, street violence  and illegal settlements in particular. The candidates also wanted to discuss cyber crime and  social media hate speech. Some others wanted to talk about police numbers and the utility of beat policing.   I look forward to seeing the Manifesto of the winning candidate in due course

 

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49 Comments

  1. Peter
    Posted March 12, 2019 at 5:44 am | Permalink

    Meanwhile we have a last minute ‘breakthrough’ on the Irish backstop issue. Pure theatre. Same old, same old. Different language to obscure and confuse. Nothing changes in the rest of the surrender agreement either.

    It still needs to be voted down.

    As for a police commissioner, it is just window dressing. Policing is no longer about crime prevention and the conviction of criminals. It is another branh of politics. It is more concerned about behaviour modification of the law abiding masses.

    • javelin
      Posted March 12, 2019 at 6:54 am | Permalink

      The WA has not been reopened. Nothing has changed.

      All Junker has said is that the UK can walk away if the next set of negotiations are done in bad faith. He called it an interpretation of an interpretation.

      Any treaty or international negotiation can be left because the other party is acting in bad faith. So Junker has given nothing. It’s the law already.

      • Hope
        Posted March 12, 2019 at 8:43 am | Permalink

        May’s current claim of legal changes is for the fairies. It is like Cameron’s claim he reformed the EU and must vote to remain! It is utter tosh. A slight amendment to the arbitration process! May’s servitude plan is still rubbish in its entirety. There is still no normal international right to unilaterally leave! It is up to a panel! Her latest scam is a dreadful charade.

        Shame on her once again. Parliament demanded the backstop be replaced. We read May and Cox did not even ask for it!

    • agricola
      Posted March 12, 2019 at 10:58 am | Permalink

      Agree your last paragraph. A PC is a convenient cut out for politicians.

      A true story. My younger brother wanted a comparative opinion on a policing matter. Having spent a lot of time in a particular US city, he rang the chief constable of said city. Got his secretary who patched him through to her boss. Spent an agreeable ten minutes getting the US slant on his problem. He then phoned his own CC. Couldn’t even get his secretary and his name was a state secret.

      The key to this is that the US CC was subject to election. His UK CC was not, he arrived with the ration cart. We need to inject democracy into the choice of UK CCs. It is not acceptable that they were the last PC one to fall out of Bramshill.

      On the subject of today, my judgement is that as long as there is a backstop it is unacceptable. I leave it to the DUP & ERG to give the final verdict. Looks like no deal WTO rules after 29th to me.

  2. Mark B
    Posted March 12, 2019 at 6:00 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    PCC’s are just another job creation scheme for people with connections. People do not vote for them because they do not want them. They see it, quite rightly, as just another level of bureaucracy that they have to pay for.

    If it is such a good idea why have police numbers in England fallen ? Why is crime on the increase ? And why are these people and their hangers on paid so much ?

    • graham1946
      Posted March 12, 2019 at 11:12 am | Permalink

      Hear hear. We went from unpaid committees formed from the public to highly expensive pseudo politicians with offices and highly paid assistants just to run the police numbers down. The public know what they want done, but instead we get another layer of tin eared political apparatchiks with their own views. Has policing improved in any way for the money spent? Get rid. It was a lousy idea imported from the US and cocked up in the good old British way. I certainly won’t be wasting my shoe leather going to vote for another layer of bureaucracy

  3. javelin
    Posted March 12, 2019 at 6:11 am | Permalink

    Guaranteed there will be a second referendum if the WA is voted through.

    If MPs vote for the WA then the MPs will be seen as part of the EU.

    Therefore the vote to leave the EU can be taken at every future Local and General Election by removing the EU MPs. Rinse and Repeat until the laundry is clean.

    After a whitewash at the next Local Election MPs will have two years living as condemned prisoners who have a view of the gallows from their cell.

    • javelin
      Posted March 12, 2019 at 6:26 am | Permalink

      It’s better to be an MP outside the EU than work at Homebase inside the EU.

    • javelin
      Posted March 12, 2019 at 6:37 am | Permalink

      The logic of the backstop is irrelevant. MPs who vote for the WA will be seen as part of the EU.

      The only question that is relevant is a democratic question.

      Have EU MPs secured a backstop with their constituents against being removed at the next General Election?

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 12, 2019 at 7:14 am | Permalink

        Indeed I would never vote for any MP who had voted for May’s appalling & even worse than remain deal.

      • James
        Posted March 12, 2019 at 7:31 am | Permalink

        Ambiguous words trying to hide the true meaning that should have been conveyed by honest people in plain English. Yet again, a fanfare announcement by role-playing charlatans. How sad and disappointing, to say the least, that any one of our current representatives let alone our Prime Minister should try to convey other than the truth. They have forfeited trust. They should be ashamed of themselves and have the decency to resign immediately.

    • Posted March 12, 2019 at 11:14 am | Permalink

      Javelin –
      If the EU even ALLOWS us to have elections on our own terms once we’re clutched tightly to its all-encompassing bosom. Life may never be the same again once our country is surrendered to it, and its steady march to ”ever closer union” continues.
      It’s not ever going to risk our having a choice again.

  4. Stephen Priest
    Posted March 12, 2019 at 6:20 am | Permalink

    Talking about policing I hope you, the ERG and the DUP do a good job of policing and Juncker’s legally binding Luxembourg waffle.

    Unless the UK can withdraw unilaterally it’s meaningless.
    If a Remainer continues to negotiate it’s meaningless

    • Nicholas Murphy
      Posted March 12, 2019 at 6:58 am | Permalink

      Your last point is key, Stephen. I recall, in what seems an age ago, that Cameron was talking-up the idea of an ’emergency brake’ on EU migration. But could we ever have trusted him to apply it? Our politicians have fluffed opportunities to limit migration from Eastern Europe.

      • Stephen Priest
        Posted March 12, 2019 at 9:01 am | Permalink

        I’m no lawyer. But that’s the point. If you need lawyers to examine a document to work out what it means, it obviously means nothing.

        If a Remainer continues to negotiate it’s meaningless, even with an agreed notice period, as a Remainer with just concede everything to the EU.

  5. GilesB
    Posted March 12, 2019 at 6:24 am | Permalink

    I look forward to us having more money to spend on the Police.

    But until we leave the EU we won’t. Now is the time to be decisive

    Courage, mon Brave!

    One, the Withdrawal Agreement as you know has many flaws besides the backstop. The backstop is a mere MacGuffin.

    Two, a unilateral declaration of departure is valueless. An EU arbitration panel will totally ignore it, particularly in favour of whatever is best in their view for ‘ever closer union’. And suspension is not termination.

    Three, there is nothing to lose by rejecting the Withdrawal Appeasement. Either we leave on WTO terms, or we Remain as a full member. Both of which are better than vassalage. Or perhaps we go yet another round …

    Vote it down. Plot her out. Get behind a new leader. As soon as possible

  6. Mick
    Posted March 12, 2019 at 6:29 am | Permalink

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6797541/What-new-deal-Brexit.html
    Will you and the rest of the ERG be voting for the deal now Sir John
    A simple Yes or No will do

  7. jerry
    Posted March 12, 2019 at 6:38 am | Permalink

    “The role of Police and Crime Commissioner has…”

    …overly politicised the Police – scrap them!

  8. Nicholas Murphy
    Posted March 12, 2019 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    Social media hate speech is NOT a policing priority of this voter. Any force employing more than a couple of officers on such ‘policing’ needs its knuckles rapped.
    My concerns with the PCCs are: (1) the cost of the election process; (2) the quality of the PCCs thrown up; (3) the size and cost of the PCC offices. I gather that Khan has more than a hundred well-paid staff working in his PCC function. It’s hard to understand why there are so many of them – or to not think that the money would be better spent on, er, extra police officers to, er, protect the public.

  9. Dominic
    Posted March 12, 2019 at 6:55 am | Permalink

    I stopped reading when I saw the term ‘hate speech’. A term enthusiastically embraced by the left to destroy the political enemy. It is nothing more than a thinly veiled attack on our most cherished freedoms and liberties. To see a Tory MP use it is, well shameful

    As an aside. I see Britain’s most poisonous PM is still trying to con Tory MPs and the nation’s voters.

    Again, the decision to leave is not a decision for May, the DUP or anyone else other than the British people

    • Posted March 12, 2019 at 11:22 am | Permalink

      Well said, Dominic.
      We all know the attitude of Mrs May and her cohort is ”the people have spoken, the B*s”.
      Yes, we have spoken – and I don’t think we’ll ever be allowed to speak again once she surrenders us to the EU.

  10. Roy Grainger
    Posted March 12, 2019 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    PCC role is a waste of time. In London the role is carried out by the Mayor and he has already told us there’s nothing at all he can do about increased knife crime except blame the government.

  11. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted March 12, 2019 at 7:07 am | Permalink

    New legislation on the backstop is no surprise. It just shows the EU could have been persuaded to come up with more had we taken a firmer stance from day one. There is still too much wrong with the WA so I trust you and others will vote it down. One could be forgiven for thinking the EU are pretty desperate to keep us in or that this whole charade has been in the making from day one. As for police commissioners, if all they are interested in is social media crime then nothing will improve. The more serious crimes must be addressed. Instead of excluding children from school they should attend a type of national service training run by ex military using discipline and given education too. They should not be left languishing at home getting into more trouble.

    • Posted March 12, 2019 at 11:52 am | Permalink

      The trouble is with making children undergo any sort of training is that there is no punishment available as an ultimate sanction. Apart from speaking crossly to them, it seems there’s little else a trainer could do.

  12. APL
    Posted March 12, 2019 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    “Choosing a candidate for Police and Crime Commissioner”

    Would you select someone – anyone, who isn’t a marxist?

    • APL
      Posted March 12, 2019 at 7:17 am | Permalink

      JR: “The candidates also wanted to discuss cyber crime and social media hate speech. ”

      ‘hate speech’, Ha! not a conservative among them.

  13. J Bush
    Posted March 12, 2019 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    6% of Cumbrian’s voted for the first PCC, the other candidates got even smaller % of the vote.

    How can anyone be ‘voted into office’ when 94% of the electorate didn’t vote for them? It makes a farce of the democratic system.

    I think it is time for the winning vote to have a specific % of the total electoral vote. For jobsworths such as PCC it should be at least 40%.

  14. Beecee
    Posted March 12, 2019 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    There was nothing wrong with the old system. The USA fad for a PCC has only increased costs without bringing noticeable improvements.

    I could not tell you who our County (invisible) PCC is!

  15. Caterpillar
    Posted March 12, 2019 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    Off topic (of course),

    I hope the attorney general’s view on DrRedwood’s points during the late statement last night are also made known. We not only need to see his view on the new documents, but also on Sir John’s points about the WA.

  16. Tabulazero
    Posted March 12, 2019 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    Theresa May has gotten nothing out of Junker last night. It will be a joy to see the Conservative party explode on that.

    Jump! Jump! Jump!

  17. margaret
    Posted March 12, 2019 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    Crime is changing. Knife crime, internet fraud, high tech fraud with duplication of information. Someone recently has said that they have used my ‘e’ mail for a while whilst I did not know. They gained it from an adult website. I haven’t ever actually used an adult website. I get lots of trash’e’ mails which I cannot block , so I assume it was from one of these. These crimes can cause much devastation . They need to be kept central to all criminal investigation .

  18. Ian wragg
    Posted March 12, 2019 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    Another crock of waffle sold by May as a legal binding document.
    Utter drivel.
    Transition goes to 2022. Backstop kicks in then ECJ decides if it’s going to be permanently in place or not. 8 years after the referendum and we’re still under Brussels control.
    Anyone voting for it will be toast at the next election.

    • Posted March 12, 2019 at 11:56 am | Permalink

      ”.. the next election..” I admire your optimism. The EUcrats don’t like people having choices that the EU can’t control.

      • graham1946
        Posted March 12, 2019 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

        On radio today, a member of the 1922 Committee, I think, Chairman of Procedures calls for a General Election this week if the appalling May sell out is not passed. Not designed to frighten the MP’s who are acting against public opinion of course. He also calls for an extension to enable a GE to take place. Far better to just collapse Parliament and let the clock run out on Brexit and hold a GE afterwards, but of course the turkeys won’t vote for Christmas.

  19. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted March 12, 2019 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    JR : “The role of Police and Crime Commissioner has on the whole failed to capture the public imagination, with low turnouts in past elections for the role.”
    Those low turnouts will be seen as a high point following the antics of MPs trying to thwart and overturn the 2016 referendum result. Our democracy has been assaulted and undermined by those meant to uphold and nurture it. The anger of the electorate is real.
    Last night we had the humiliation of a grim ashen-faced Mrs May sitting alongside the EU Commission President Juncker who threatened us with accepting this “deal” or there will be no Brexit. We don’t take kindly to being dictated to by unelected foreigners even if our lamentable Prime Minister does.

  20. Andy
    Posted March 12, 2019 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    I have decided not to pay my mortgage but I still want to live in my house.

    I told my bank I about my plan but they said no.

    So I have unilaterally decided to amend my mortgage deal to say I can stay for free.

    My bank will not be happy.

    But there are a few hundred chumps in Parliament who will back my plan.

    • Edward2
      Posted March 12, 2019 at 11:51 am | Permalink

      There is no equivolence.
      You have a loan which you promised to pay back and your home is the lender’s security.
      If you fail to pay you will be evicted.
      The issue in Parliament is whether there will be a majority in favour of the WA.

    • Posted March 12, 2019 at 11:58 am | Permalink

      Oh dear, Andy – I think Sir John includes your posts to lighten the mood!

  21. bigneil
    Posted March 12, 2019 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    ” The role of Police and Crime Commissioner has on the whole failed to capture the public imagination, ” The position is more about PCness and saying the “right thing” than protecting decent people from criminals. Foreign criminals coming here are treated better than our own people. They come to deliberately commit crime and ruin people’s lives, so they can claim they’ll be persecuted if deported afterwards. They are allowed to stay (paid for by us of course ) and then they use the Right to Family Life to get the rest of their family here (also to live on our taxes). Stop rewarding foreign criminals with free everything lives and people may start to respect politicians again.

  22. a-tracy
    Posted March 12, 2019 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    So do we hold them responsible for rising knife crime? Or is it they have all the pay and no responsibilities for anything.

  23. 'None of the above'.
    Posted March 12, 2019 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    I have never supported this development. It is far more costly and no more effective than consulting the elected County or Metropolitan Authority, who are far better placed to offer a view on public opinion.
    The role of the Police is to enforce the Law and not to lean with the political wind.
    The accountability of a Chief Constable should be to the Home Secretary, the Law Courts and HM Inspector of Constabularies (not necessarily in that order).

  24. Original Richard
    Posted March 12, 2019 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    Why did Parliament select the AV system for electing PCCs (and the very similar SV system for electing mayors) whilst not being in favour of using either of these systems to elect MPs?

  25. Bryan Harris
    Posted March 12, 2019 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    Politicizing the role of police commissioners was a grave mistake.
    Now we have someone at the top of the chain with a force that applies his thinking, whether that is rationality or political correctness…

    There have been many instances of good police officers towards the top of the chain leaving, or forced out, because they did not follow the political views of the commissioner – I’ve heard this from serving officers who describe the situation as very uncomfortable.
    It is inherently wrong to make the police a political force – The police should serve the public, not their political masters.

  26. Everhopeful
    Posted March 12, 2019 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    If the govt wanted to stop crime we would have a proper PoliceForce.
    We don’t so we have escalating crime.
    And how do those who have had their Police Station closed feel about it all?
    How likely are they to feel motivated to get out and vote?
    Anyway…several years back I was told by the Police that anyone wishing to erect a skateboard ramp in the middle of the road was perfectly entitled to do so. And nothing could be done about it. And if I made a complaint against those who were actually doing it…” They’d knowwhere I lived wouldn’they?”
    Take an interest? I don’t think so!!

  27. Geoff Homer
    Posted March 12, 2019 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    Ive commented before that my area has a P and CC, a Deputy P and CC and a Chief Executive. All full time and as busy as can be. Someone once said (may have been JR) in life if you cant measure the benefit of doing something then it cant be worthwhile. Isnt this a wonderful example?

  28. a-tracy
    Posted March 12, 2019 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    If I were a PCC I would get people like Louise King from the CRAE (Children’s Rights Alliance England) and spokesperson against police using tasers and spit hoods (I didn’t even know such a thing existed and why would they if people didn’t spit!) to walk in the shoes of our police constables that are using tasers and spit hoods, not just for an hour but for a month, she must see with her own eyes in those areas with high reported use of these items why they are used and the police must be able to justify this. With children and adult’ rights come responsibilities. People who sit in safe offices and courts should walk some shifts, I know a boy that went through cadet training in London and said it was like another world he’d never experienced before.

  29. Den
    Posted March 12, 2019 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    As far as I am concerned, the office of the PCC is yet another tier of bureaucracy, an extravagant waste funded by the Council Taxpayers of the Country. My household has to find £250 per year from our disposable income to fund our own Commissioner.
    A rough estimate of our PCC’s budget is £120,000,000 per year. To me a grotesque waste of taxpayers money. The job could be handled by the civic leaders of the respective local councils in the area who will be more in touch with their residents than a desk jockey earning £90K+ expenses et al.
    It is of no surprise to me that their election turnouts are so low because I have no idea of who or what I would be voting for as the candidates (unklike prospective MPs) never seem to present themselves to the general public nor do they seem to publish their own personal manifesto.
    Council taxes, like utility bills, always rise year on year and it is time that council’s adopted some austerity practices and cut out ALL waste.
    We have no choice but pay up every time because the proposed increases can only ever be challenged by the Council Tax payers at the next Local elections. And that is usually means more of the same. The increase in State Pensions never seem to balance the increase in Council Taxes , Food, Utilities and vehicle running costs. We have less to spend each year. So close down the PCC and save £100 Millions in the process and CUT Council Taxes.

  30. sm
    Posted March 12, 2019 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    When the concept of PCCs was introduced, I thought I must be missing something vital, as I really couldn’t see the point.

    Now they have been around for a while, I still can’t see the point.

  31. Den
    Posted March 13, 2019 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    I have just received my Council Tax Bill for 2019-2020. The PCC for Avon and Somerset has gone up by 12.4% to £266.21 – against an average increase across all services of 4.8% How can this be justified? Especially when there are around 555,000 people living in Somerset alone with just 11 Police Stations. A rough guess at 100,000 homes give the PCC an income of
    £26 Millions per year. For just 11 Police Stations?
    http://www.somersetintelligence.org.uk/somerset-facts-and-figures/

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