I have previously mentioned the proposed Police and Crime Commissioners, who are to be elected next month, a few times on this blog. At the risk of repeating what The Cat said on previous occasions, this is a bad idea. A disaster waiting to happen. This idea of police commissioners is an American one that has been grafted onto an already existing and functioning system. The current arrangement of police authorities made up of local people is perfectly fine. In other words, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.
The PCC idea was originally touted by Hannan and Carswell in their book, The Plan. The rationale behind the idea is to subject policing to the democratic process, but what will really happen? I can foresee conflicts arising between the PCC and the local constabulary and as I warned a year ago, the PCC will be a political office, meaning that the whole business of policing will be subject to ideological colonization. In other words, if a Tory or UKIPer should win, they could focus their attention on harassing minority groups whom they erroneously believe to be ‘illegal immigrants’. Tellingly, the Lyin’ King revealed his admiration for Maricopa County Sheriff, Joe Arpaio. The sheriff has recently been the subject of complaints and a federal law suit. He is also a prominent ‘birther’.
I have looked at the candidates and they are principally from the three main parties and UKIP. There are some exceptions: the British
Fascist Freedom Party is standing a candidate in Bedfordshire, the birthplace of the English Defence League. In Northamptonshire, the far-right English Democrats are standing a candidate. Devon and Cornwall has the largest slate of candidates, many of whom are “independents”. In Kent, a minor fascist party, The National Liberal Party, is standing a candidate.
Turnout for these elections is predicted to be low. Hardly anyone in the country knows about the elections or what the role of a PCC is.
Plenty of people will vaguely nod at the idea that we shouldn’t have ‘politicised police chiefs’. But ask yourself what we have at the moment. Consider the career of Ian Blair himself: his spending of resources on 28 diversity advisers while street crime was rising; his attacks on the press for giving disproportionate coverage to white crime victims (erroneously, as a study of column inches later showed)
“White crime victims” (my bold) is the most revealing phrase here. But why racialize crime reporting anyway? I think Blair was right to point it out. When a black kid goes missing, the press don’t bother to report it. But when it’s Madeleine McCann or some nice white, blonde-haired kid, the press are all over it like flies on a dog turd. Remember classical liberals and self-described Whigs hate the idea of diversity and would love to return to a time when people ‘knew their place’.
The PCCs are expected to be paid a salary of between £65,000 and £100,000. Chief Constables already get paid around £100,000 a year. If the country is so “broke” as the Con Dems keep telling us, then how can they afford to spend money on PCC’s salaries?
PCCs are a bad idea made worse by the fact that the jobs will be filled by someone from a political party on a possible turnout of less than 17%. But will such turnouts be questioned by the Tories? Of course not. They’re hypocrites.
UPDATE 22/10/12 @ 1047
I’ve just been alerted to this article by Kennite, who tells us that there are “Secret US lobbyists” behind the PCC election. I shall quote a little,
Mervyn Barrett has flooded Lincolnshire with expensive leaflets, free DVDs and full-page newspaper adverts in his bid to be elected as its policing supremo next month.
Unusually for a rural local election, he has employed professional campaign staff, commissioned weekly opinion polls, opened “field offices” and is driven in a chauffeured Mercedes.
He has poured tens of thousands of pounds into the elections, far more than any other candidate anywhere else in Britain.
Mr Barrett describes himself as an “independent”, opposed to “party politics” in policing. He has refused to disclose who is funding him, despite widespread local suspicions generated by the intensity and professionalism of his campaign.
However, it can now be revealed that it has been run by a team from a US-based neo-conservative think tank, the Fund for the New American Century, funded in part by a variety of corporate donors with an interest in public-sector privatisation.
Given Hannan’s enthusiasm for this idea, you have to wonder what he’s getting out of it.