Today was the day where I would have been keeping you up to date with the developments at the ACPO/APA conference day on PCCs, but it was not to be. Firstly ACPO and co. wanted £267 for me or any other would-be PCC to turn up today. They think we have money. By and large we don’t. Then after a slight kerfuffle that I may have been involved in, the price was reduced to £125. I didn’t find that convincing for something that was ‘mutually beneficial’, so I stayed away.
However, I had kept the day free in case ACPO finally saw sense, so we made good use of it by taking the kids to a nearby farm, where we all enjoyed ourselves, soaked up too much sun, and learnt about all the animals.
What I picked up while there, imperfectly, at a distance, and through the medium of my iPhone, was that some of the advice being handed out was about how police chiefs are not used to being involved in elections and needed to be very careful, particulary around treating candidates equally.
Which all seems a bit ironic, given that it would have been heard by…
…PCC candidates who are members of Police Authorities, who were using taxpayers’ money for them to attend and gain this insight on this important new role…
…a panelist chosen by their political party as a candidate, who attends for free…
…someone sent by their party as a panelist, even though that political party has not yet selected a candidate in their area, and who therefore has competitors both within and without, who attends for free…
…someone who picked themselves as a candidate, who attends for free…
… Never mind anyone who paid £267, anyone who paid £125, anyone who is currently a Chief Police Officer with a ‘cunning plan’ for a career change, anyone who accepted the places the LGA had for Independents (what about Independents who don’t associate with the LGA?), and of course excluding everyone who was a candidate who wouldn’t pay or play along.
Yes. Police chiefs were told how important it was to treat candidates equally at the very conference where they were failing to do just that.
Another thing I noted was that Bernard Hogan-Howe told police chiefs it was SUMO time – time for them to Shut Up and Move On on the topic of whether we should have PCCs. Personally, I think it was innappropriate for them to have ever done anything else.
We also learned two other important points:-
1) that Chief Constables are being advised not to have meetings with candidates. That certainly is the case in my own area, as can be seen here.
2) As Mick Thwaites put it “Good first session,#acpoconference,just told I am a nobody, until I hand over cash,and get 100 misguided individuals to sign my application!“
I must raise my hands and plead guilty here. I use the term ‘candidate’ on this site rather loosely, to refer to people who are trying to get their party’s nomination, to those who have succeeded and to those who say they want to run. But no-one is legally a candidate until they are nominated- with £5,000 and 100 signatures.
But if you put those 2 facts together, what is a Chief Constable to do?
If no-one is a candidate then there is no-one you have to treat equally – you can do what you want till mid-October, can’t you?
Or alternatively, almost everyone is a potential candidate, so if you are a Chief Constable who isn’t meeting candidates, then you can’t really meet anyone, lest they turn into a candidate in the next few months.
Welcome to ‘equality’. It isn’t fairness. It’s what currently and bizarrely passes for it in ‘PC’ world.
I’m thinking the farm was a better use of a day.