Apologies for my absence yesterday. A full day of ‘knocking up’ (not as much fun as it sounds) followed by an election count last night left precious little opportunity in terms of time or energy to update the site, but I’ll try to make up for it today by squeezing two insights into a small space.
- Today was the day when we were supposed to find out the results of the Police and Crime Commissioner elections, before the Lords, the Lib Dems and the Electoral Commission had their wicked way with the plans. We won’t now know if in political terms this was a good thing for any particular political party, but as I mourne the loss of Chorley Council to Labour it seems like a propitious delay. Chorley’s Conservatives had managed to make it one of the best district councils in the country, and simultaneously increase its investment in PCSOs, while decreasing Council Tax, but all to no avail politically, as the right-of-centre vote was unnecessarily split on a national basis with UKIP, and the public reacted to a string of bad headlines at a national level. Probably not the best time for a PCC election from my point of view.
- It has been quiet in PCC world. Committed candidates have been busy fighting elections. A lot of people have been taking forward ‘one election at a time’ philosophies. That all changes now. As the parties turn to finalising their choice of candidates, the identities of more hopefuls will emerge. We are about to embark on an unprecedented journey in British politics – an election that is just about crime, and we have 6 months to make the best of this opportunity to have a national debate about it. No doubt national politics will intervene, and people will be asked to use yet another election as a protest for this or that reason, but for those of us who have spent our lives in criminal justice, this is a truly exciting time. Never before have we had the chance to let the public express their feelings about crime, and to get the various philosophies, policies and responses on the table. Never before has it been the people’s decision, as the criminal justice system has used its understandable ‘independence’ to become a law unto itself. This first PCC election is unpredictable, but chock full of potential. Whether it reaches that potential is down to all of us.