Dorset Independent Candidate Martyn Underhill launched his campaign website and Facebook page, with the theme ‘Keep Politics Out Of Policing’ – this seems to be a common theme with Independents, though I’m sure they mean “party politics”, as the whole running for election, getting your messages to voters, and hoping to get a majority of votes on the day is, well, politics. The problem with saying ‘party politics’ though is that many party candidates might agree. As PCCs are single elected individuals not dependent on a group of other elected individuals in the same party for support, and actually needing to work across the political kaleidoscope of local government, they are as weak a version of party politics as this country gets. At the moment.
In the Bedfordshire Conservative race, there has been a bit of a change around. Richard Stay has dropped out, while former Councillor Jas Parmar and former vice-chairman of Bedfordshire County Council Lynne Faulkner have dropped in. Bernard Rix is still running, in the London Marathon, for Crimestoppers. Depending on which costume he chooses, he might still be running for some time.
Jacqui Rayment has confirmed she is in a shortlist of 2 for the Labour nomination in Hampshire.
Jon Collins pointed out that local MPs Maria Eagle, Joe Benton, Dave Watts and Steve Rotheram have all backed Peter Kilfoyle for Merseyside PCC, but it seems almost unfair to mention it when if we listed all the people endorsing his Labour rival Jane Kennedy for the same role this article would be twice as long.
ConservativeHome have drawn attention to Paul Dendle’s campaign in Sussex, while he has been busy populating his website with articles such as Will there be conflict between an elected PCC and the CPS?
Matthew Grove, in Humberside, has taken to criticising the failure of the present system of police authorities, while in the West Midlands Mike Olley has succeeded in attracting more curious publicity once again. With one candidate’s decision to attract attention to his difficulties in claiming benefits, we must ask “Is there really no such thing as bad publicity?”
Douglas Carswell MP has been busy suggesting that whether community sentences are the answer locally is really a matter for Police and Crime Commissioners, rather than the Home Secretary.
Michael Crick has been drawing attention to the significance of earnings and tax returns being released by London Mayoral candidates, including Brian Paddick’s annual police pension of £63,397. With recently retired senior officers pitching for PCC roles instead of retirement, how long can it be before this becomes an issue in the PCC elections? Remember, you really did hear it here first, and for the record, TopOfTheCops is against it, taking the traditional British attitude that it is vulgar to ask people to disclose their earnings.
The Home Secretary has responded to Winsor 2 with a Written Ministerial Statement. Sceptics have pointed to the Prime Minister’s longstanding views on Police Reform to suggest a degree of inevitability.
Toby James has written about worries surrounding the management of the Police and Crime Commissioner election process.
The Home Office have put their latest Police and Crime Commissioner bulletin online.
The EIP conference saw senior Home Office civil servant Stephen Rimmer suggest that Chief officers and Police Authority chief executives need to engage with PCC candidates to help inform them before the elections, while Sir Hugh Orde said he had some difficulty with former police officers standing for PCC posts. Meanwhile Lancashire Chief Constable Steve Finnigan expressed the need to get back to business as usual, having rightly obsessed about spending reductions over the last 2 years, raising issues for those whose campaigns are about resisting cuts, or dependent on how skillful they are at making cuts, as both these tactics threaten to be out of date by the time the elections are over.
The North Yorkshire Police Federation raised the possibility of the Federation sponsoring certain PCC candidates, leading to discussions on the legality, practicalities and wisdom of such a move.
At Leveson, Sir Hugh Orde suggested PCCs will need separate media operations from their police forces (See para 17 at the link – the devil really is in the detail!)
The Liverpool Daily Post wondered just how effective social media was in British elections, concluding that it was better for candidates in influencing their selections than their elections.
Sean O’Neill pointed everyone to evidence of how bitter it got at the top of Scotland Yard, referencing Sir Paul Stephenson’s 2nd statement to Leveson
As blogger Inspector Gadget and many others got irritated at blanket assertions about police officers being racist, North Yorkshire PCC hopeful Peter Walker thought it was “Ironic that a person who criticises Police for stereotyping should make offensive comments based on – a stereotype!”
Lancashire Police Authority turned on their election website, and very nice it is too.
On LabourList, Mark Ferguson said Ed Miliband had a flawed approach to antisocial behaviour.
And April Fools Day brought worries about the merger of Lancashire and Yorkshire into the new County of Larkshire! While you’re laughing, and wondering if PCCs would ever try something like that, be aware that to their eternal shame Lancashire Police Authority, supported by senior officers, cosied up to Cumbria under the last government with just such an intention.