Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Thoughts on the PCC elections

I don't think we should be having PCC elections, mainly because the public is in no way informed enough as to whom the best candidate for the role is, nor do enough of them care.  I read today they they are predicting a turnout of around 15%, I reckon it'll actually be higher than this, but in no way high enough for that person to truly have a mandate.

I think my main problem with it though, is that I feel the police is becoming politicised.  I feel that the police force should be independent from politics whilst remaining accountable.  Having a person linked with a party in a major position could result in decisions that are better politically than actually.  My personal preference given that there were to be elections was for each candidate to be independent. 

Obviously that isn't the case.  I was pleased to find out that there would be an independent person on my ballot paper.  So unlike many people I'm trying to do my best to find out as much as I can about the candidates, despite my disagreement with the system I still think it's important that I do cast an informed vote and not just due to party allegiances.  Unfortunately, I've not received any information through the post and only 2 of my 4 candidates appear to be on Twitter.  The My PCC site is a good tool, but I was disappointed by the level of detail most candidates went into, even on their own website.  Basically I felt like they were all saying they wanted to:
  1. Cut Crime
  2. Listen
  3. Give value for money.
I thought the Labour and Tory candidates were particularly guilty of this, just wishy washy no brainer statements that nobody could argue with and didn't say anything different.  I was hopeful with the independent until I read her points 4 and 5 on her aims:

  • I will respond vigorously to your concerns about *****.
  • Your worries about *****, will be a specific focus.
Now, listening to the public is a good thing.  However stating that the public's worries will given specific focus is not always the best policy in practice.  The main reason for this is that the candidate doesn't state whether the public should be concerned or worried about these things.  My main hope for an independent candidate would be that they wouldn't focus on party political issues and instead focus on points that really matter.  However as even these independent candidates have to persuade the public to elect them and keep them elected and in doing so this may result in pandering to the public's potentially unfounded fears.

I starred out the two items that she was focusing on because for my point these are irrelevant.  Police Commissioners should be focusing on cutting the crimes the DO happen, not what people are worried/concerned MIGHT happen as I reckon people tend to focus on crimes that if they happened would have the greatest impact on them personally, irrespective of the odds of them happening.

Maybe I'm just being cynical, I'm sure all candidates in all regions are qualified for the jobs and those who are appointed will do their best, I just personally don't feel that a popularity contest - or a Political Party popularity contest (given the lack of exposure each candidate has had - at least in my region) is the best way to be selecting people for such important jobs.

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