Part-timers, writing and Super Thursday?
Patrick Burns wrote an article on November’s Police and Crime Commissioner and Mayoral elections, which was chiefly notable for being the first use of the term ‘Super Thursday’ in relation to these elections. Remember, it’s not American enough already.
Paul Richards, a hopeful for the Labour nomination in Sussex, wrote this piece about the memorials for fallen police officers, in the wake of the tragic death of PC David Rathband.
Theresa May decided that PCCs should not have their pay docked if they kept other roles on election, which brought out a lot of criticism in regional and local press, who by and large are now saying how scandalous it is that this should be a part-time job. Candidates scrambled to declare how full-time they would be, leading one person to ask Paul Richards if getting elected meant that he would stop writing.
However, if the second job is Council Leader, then Policing Minister Nick Herbert is opposed due to a conflict of interest. This raises issues for any Council Leaders thinking of going for the PCC job. He also said that PCCs would need a national representative body, and that it was up to PCCs to decide whether this should be the one set up by the LGA. TopOfTheCops has already expressed doubt as to whether PCCs would want to weaken their mandate with the LGA that tried to abort the PCC posts in utero.
Readers of Police Professional were treated to the shadow justice minister admitting that Police and Crime Commissioners will be here for a while. David Hanson MP noted that if an incoming 2015 Labour government wanted to change the system, they probably couldn’t get it done in time for the next PCC elections in 2016. Mr Hanson is clearly a wise man, as he now has some insulation against domestic strife should Mrs Hanson get to be Labour’s Police and Crime Commissioner in North Wales as she hopes.
John Norrie announced he would be standing as an Independent for Police and Crime Commissioner in Northamptonshire and quickly joined the swelling ranks of Candidates who have provided a Candidate Statement through TopOfTheCops.com. This week these have included a brace of Labour hopefuls, from Les Byrom in Merseyside, Paul Cannon in South Wales, Chris Maughan in Lancashire, and both Sajaad Khan and Barry Coppinger in Cleveland. These join those we had already – Bob Jones from the West Midlands, Ian Chisnall (Independent) from Sussex, and Keith Hunter from Humberside.
Councillor Matthew Grove became the first Conservative to declare his interest in running for Police and Crime Commissioner in Humberside. There has been a bit of a spat between Policy Exchange’s Blair Gibbs and Lord Prescott as to whether it is proper to refer to ‘Humberside’ given that it split into smaller Councils a few years ago. Either way the position he is standing for is still governing ‘Humberside’ Police.
Shaun Wright confirmed the speculation that he would compete for the Labour nomination in South Yorkshire, and Derby Councillor Hardyal Dhindsa declared his intention to run for Labour in Derbyshire.
Politics and Policing
Frequent PCC commentator Jon Harvey argued for openly political Police commissioners in Left Foot Forward, marking an interesting development on the party line, and a recognition that policing is political already. Why can’t Labour politicians remember the time when they suggested elected Police Authorities back when Jacqui WhatsHerName was Home Secretary? Harvey’s readership didn’t need much encouragement to think of all kind of politics they would like to introduce into policing. How long until Conservatives remember why they were not fond of the idea of local politicians controlling policing in the 1980s?
The Leveson inquiry continued to churn out nuggets, not least of which was the Blair on Blair, where former Met Commissioner Lord Blair said that Tony Blair’s “tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime” marked the beginning of the politicisation of the police, and that he didn’t think the genie could be put back in the bottle.
Policing and Privatisation
There was a continued and largely fruitless debate about private-sector involvement in policing, which provides a good opportunity for wannabee Labour candidates to win points for being the most anti-private-sector in the run up to the selection of candidates by Labour party members, even though the debate is a bit of a difficult one for Labour to express surprise about, as the BBC’s Mark Easton noted.
The interesting insights in this debate come from the Institute of Government’s Tom Gash, who queries whether police forces currently have the skills to deal with the massive contracts being talked about, and also via Policy Exchange’s Blair Gibbs in a series of tweets, highlighting an article from the Financial Times’ Jonathan Guthrie – the idea being that, as the private sector provides employment for a lot of police officers who retire very early on pensions, and whose salaries are not abated, there is a form of subsidy for private policing through the police pension system in these cases. I shall now batten down the hatches while readers who are cops complain that they’ve had to pay quite a lot of money for their pensions, thank you very much, until the implications of that point are appreciated!
As further proof of Labour’s mobility on the private sector, Blackburn Labour Councillor Malcolm Doherty defended the decision of Lancashire Police Authority, which he chairs, to provide private health care to Lancashire’s ACPO team and the Chief Executive of the Police Authority.
In other news…
…Moldova approved the mandatory castration of paedophiles, whether foreign or domestic. But it’s only chemical castration. Bloody liberals!
…and finally, I made a joke about my favourite feature of the new iPad, and no-one laughed :-(