One of the more bizarre policies in the government’s coalition agreement is the decision to appoint police and crime commissioners for every police force in the country. These will be elected in November and the new Commissioners will have overall responsibility for running local police forces. At present Hampshire police are run by a Chief Constable answerable to a Police Authority made up of elected local councillors. This works well and prevents any single person or group running policing for their own ends.
The elections will see a single individual being paid up to £100,000 a year to supervise the Chief Constable. This money plus the cost of elections (£70,000) and cost of staff, offices etc would be better spent on front line policing currently threatened with cuts.
The plan is not Liberal Democrat policy but was forced into the coalition agenda to satisfy the “angry wing” of the Tory party. Even the Tories admit they will struggle to find suitable candidates for the new posts. And they are worried about politicising the role.
It is wrong to concentrate too much power in one person or institution. Just look at how elections for London mayor have become a battle between two over-inflated egos indifferent to the needs of London residents. The current Police Authority representing all local views and guarding against ill-though out, populist decisions, works. What a pity we have to change it.
I and local Liberal Democrats will campaign in the forthcoming elections to ensure the election of a good non-political candidate. We need a police commissioner who will put good policing above all else. These elections should not be hijacked by self important busybodies or single issue campaigners getting on a gravy train and ruining our excellent police force in the process.
You can read more about police commissioners here