The how-many-days-till-TopOfTheCops-election scandal continues. On Saturday we revealed a seven day discrepancy between the wait till the election given by the Association of Police Authorities and that given by CREST Advisory. The latter, who obviously work weekends, have been in contact to claim victory. I still haven’t actually counted, but I do have a theory. For the APA the election is unimportant, as elections always have been to their members. What’s actually important to them is that one week later the advent of Police and Crime Commissioners will abolish the Police Authorities, and all their members will be shot. Hmmm – maybe that last bit didn’t make it through the Lords. So it wouldn’t be surprising if they said “election” but their timer was set to their own personal version of Armegeddon one week later.
Also this week…
Kash Walayat OBE confirmed he was on the Labour longlist for South Yorkshire…
Lisa Brett confirmed she was a candidate for the LibDem nomination in one of the few areas where they are choosing candidates, Avon and Somerset, where this week the Police Authority launched an information site, and tweeted the view of Bristol Council’s deputy returning officer that elections using Supplementary Vote (the PCC system) usually see 25% spoiled ballots.
Bernard Rix was surprised to find out that Bedfordshire police authority had issued a Strategic Policing Plan to deal with crime that didn’t mention drugs. He was astonished when it was pointed out it didn’t mention alcohol either. But, to be fair, the Police Authority members are probably equally overcome that anyone actually read all the way through their plan. (Sorry Alf, couldn’t resist).
The Police Federation announced they would ballot their members on whether they should have the right to strike. Here’s what is going to happen – They will support it, like last time. They won’t get it, because it’s not feasible. They may extract a concession like the removal from Winsor 2 of compulsory redundancy, and the watering down of the requirement for fitness tests but, seeing as those items are probably only on the table for the purpose of being negotiated away, other stuff they don’t like from Winsor will get through with less attention paid to them. Was it being in the police that made me cynical, or being cynical that made me join the police?
Former Metropolitan Police Commissioner Lord Condon (types it carefully) said in the Lords that only celebrities and politicians will win elected police roles, due to the Government’s refusal to publicise candidates in an election booklet. The rest of that exchange of views around a question in the Lords is here. Note that the Minister says options are being considered, and took time to say what everybody expected Theresa May to say in the Commons earlier in the week -i.e. that people could phone up to get a printout of candidate details if they didn’t have internet access. What May actually said was that those people could order the material through the internet! Oh, my aching sides!
Anyway, the Lords question gave Baroness Browning the opportunity to observe “… although there was a lot of opposition to police and crime commissioners when the Bill went through, a great many people, including in this House, now believe that it is a job worth doing?”. It also gave Baroness Stowell the opportunity to wind-up Lord Prescott, who duly stated that the Department of Employment would be administering the Mayoral elections. Er, no John, you had a really good point, but about the Communities Department. I suppose one might think it was the Department for Employment if one thought that Mayors were just jobs for the boys.
Elsewhere, we asked if a force cuts £50 million should it really fill 5 vacancies in PR? Meanwhile, Andrew Gilligan pointed out the radically different approach to Police reform in Scotland, which Blair Gibbs described as “Inspector John Rebus would never have been born in Salmond’s new Scotland with its McCops megaforce“
Meanwhile the Government have announced that they will pay Police and Crime Commissioners less if they have dependent children, and less still if they have a bunch of them.
Oh, you missed that announcement did you? Well, they didn’t use exactly those words, and it was the Treasury rather than the Home Office, but under the cover of the fabled ‘granny tax’, in the Budget-announcement-that-got-away, the Government did reform its cliff-edge Child Benefit changes into a fairly steep hill, and did it so very well. You can have little but admiration for the evil genius who came up with the way of describing it as a reduction of 1% of the benefit for every £100 between £50,000 and £60,000 per annum. 1% isn’t much, is it? Well, that’s actually an effective increase to the marginal tax rate at that salary, which is already 41%, of an extra 11% for the first child, and 7% for each child thereafter till it’s all gone. That will impact on every PCC with kids, and everyone else with kids who was thinking of earning over £50,000 in a year, as Mac draws out in the Daily Mail. Well, at least you’ll know for sure that they are not in it for the money!