Today a leaflet arrived about the Police and Crime Commissioner elections on the 15th November this year. We had seen articles on the news and knew they were coming up soon, so we decided to find out more about them.
Apparently, the role includes “meeting the public regularly to listen to their views on policing”, “producing a police and crime plan”, “deciding how budget will be spent” and “appointing Chief Constables”. Quite why the Home Secretary is not doing this already is unclear in this period of austerity. Do we really need to pay someone else to do her job as well as the millions of pounds it will cost to run the election process?
If we really must appoint someone to be Police and Crime Commissioner for every police region in the country, did no-one have the sense to hold the election alongside local elections, or a national election? Yet again, common sense seems to have eluded everyone involved.
As they are going ahead, we decided to look at the caliber of those standing for the Thames Valley Police area – one of the largest police forces outside of London. The leaflet we received did not actually include the details of who is standing, so to find this out you must go online to websites such as the www.choosemypcc.org.uk website. Retired Peoples Club readers may be online and able to access this website, but we worry about the huge number of older voters who do not have internet access or are unable to get online. How will they find out who they wish to vote for – especially with so many local newspapers going out of circulation?
Are the candidates up to the task?
There are Six Candidates standing, so we decided to look at their profiles to see how suitable they might be for the job.
One of the independents is Patience Tayo Awe, an IT project manager who's wish to “maintain the integrity of the Police service and truly empower the people” sounds like a corporate mission statement from the nineties and we all know that IT projects rarely deliver what they propose on time and have a tendency to go massively over budget (who can forget the NHS National Database debacle).
The Liberal Democrats have put forward John Howson and Anthony Stansfeld is standing for the Conservatives. However, it is not so much to politics that we have an issue with, our concern relates more to why we are bothering to have the election at all.
Partly politics are already responsible for consecutive governments tinkering with the Health Service and Tax systems to try and score political points, it seems inevitable that they would eventually subject the nation's police service to the same treatment. The whole process seems to be an expensive and confusing waste of time and money.
As for the profile for independent Geoff Howard, on the www.policeelections.com website they are still waiting for his details to show up.
Unfortunately, we fear it is the electorate that will not show up and predict the lowest turn-out ever for a national election process.