The farce that is the Police and Crime Commissioner elections takes place on 15th November. These elections are as mentioned in the title to elect Police and Crime Commissioners (PCC) for each of the police forces in England and Wales (except London as the power is handed to Boris Johnson). Tomorrow (31st October) is the last day you can register to vote in these elections and I would urge you to register.
Since the general election in 2010 we have seen just how flawed the ‘reform’ of the police service has been. With the slashing of the police budget by 20%, Winsor and an American style police and crime commissioner (PCC) being brought in, now is the time for the police and the public to act.
The PCC will have an incredible amount of power – including the power to sack a chief constable, and while the PCC will be scrutinised by a police and crime panel, do we really want somebody who knows nothing about the principles of policing to wield this much power over a precious institution? I much prefer the current system of a Police Authority which may not be perfect but at least it is made up of people from different backgrounds and cultures. The Police Authority in my opinion is much stronger in scrutinising the work of a police force.
As you can probably guess from this blog and from Tweets and so on, I am wholly against the idea of a PCC. I believe that at a time when frontline police officers are being cut the last thing we as a country need is PCCs on an annual salary of between £65,000 and £100,000. I know from speaking to frontline officers and visiting police forces that there is an incredible amount of concern amongst officers and one only has to look at the police march in May to realise that the government are doing something so terribly wrong. The police are losing trust in Her Majesty’s Government.
Despite me being against the idea of a Police and Crime Commissioner, I would urge everybody to get out and vote for the candidate most likely to serve the public and the police service impartially. The police service must be free from direct politics and this politicisation of the police service is something that is going to severely damage police/public relations for years to come. The Great British police service is under attack and it’s up to us as members of the public to stand up and use our democratic power.
There are former politicians standing as PCC candidates; some that would certainly do an excellent job if elected as they have the experience and diplomacy that is required, however some appear just to be standing for the sake of it….I name no names!
Anybody that has taken part in any election in the autumn will know how difficult it is to get people out to vote. With turnout expected to be as low as 20% the last thing we need is a powerful PCC elected on a worryingly low turnout so do your bit.
Get out, use your vote and make a difference.
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