Until last month, policing priorities and the liaison between elected representatives and police forces were the remit of Police Authorities. These have now given way to Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs), the reason being that this makes policing more democratically accountable, as the Commissioners are elected representatives themselves. And in the vanguard pressing for them was an old friend of this blog.
More guff from Tufton Street
Yes, supporting PCCs from the very start has been the dubiously talented array of non-job holders at the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance (TPA): back in 2010, using the platform afforded him by ConservativeHome (not that they’re Conservatives, of course), non-job holder Mark Wallace told that “we need directly elected Police Commissioners”. He urged the Home Secretary to press on with them.
Indeed, it was later reported, also on ConservativeHome, that the TPA’s EU “expert” Lee Rotherham would stand for election as a PCC in Lincolnshire, and he was described as “An excellent candidate”. Sadly, when the election was held, Rotherham was elsewhere. So that excellence did not extend to actually completing and submitting nomination papers, then.
But the TPA pressed on with its support, with “grassroots coordinator” Andrew Allison (as the TPA has no grassroots, this is their most aptly titled non-job) complaining about supposed waste by Humberside Police Authority while repeating the mantra “We support elected Police Commissioners”. This was followed with more TPA “research” titled High Costs Of Unaccountable Police Authorities Revealed.
Not everyone, however, was persuaded: West Midlands Councillor John O’Shea, aka PoliticalHackUK, asserted that the TPA had it wrong, especially the claim that PCCs would replace chief executives. He estimated that, when the cost of elections was factored in, PCCs would in fact cost more than the Police Authorities they were replacing. So how are things looking as the dust settles after those elections?
Well, quite apart from the miserable 14.7% turnout across the country, the TPA are complaining about the activities of the very people they campaigned for. “Are Police and Crime Commissioners appointing friends to non-jobs?” asked non-job holder Andrew Allison, wording his rhetorical question in the style of Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse). Then he answered his own question.
“More rows as some PCCs appoint friends as deputies” he confirmed. What did he expect? Freed from the oversight of Police Authorities who would have stamped on that kind of behaviour in short order, PCCs can please themselves until the next election comes into view. The TPA has once again failed to think through its ideas and is now playing the other side of the field, hoping the public won’t notice.
Well, they have noticed, and hopefully some of the politicians will notice, too.