You’ll remember that TopOfTheCops has frequently been sceptical about the approaches of the Local Government Association and the Association of Police Authorities in their attempts to provide support and national representation for PCCs. The scepticism has flowed from the more-grudging-than-Damascene conversions of these organisations from ‘PCCs must be stopped’ to ‘now we have to have them, can they provide our livelihoods’.
This is particularly the case with the Local Government Association. Their rivals in the Association of Police Authorities are at least doing a similar job at the moment, have been commissioned by the Home Office to provide representation on national bodies, and are not running around pretending that they are ‘the’ national representative body for PCCs. The LGA are however engaged in that very pretence.
Both organisations are currently offering training/briefing for candidates, which will bolster the organisations hoped-for future roles as support structures for PCCs. All that is well and good. It is perfectly fine for organisations to offer support in an attempt to build relationships with prospective PCCs, which may prove valuable to both parties later, as long as everyone realises that is what is happening. But the organisations established by various arms of the state are not the only way of doing that, and a bit of extra choice and competition may encourage everyone to raise their game, particularly while the risk remains that the APA and LGA may yet bury their differences and remove the only other appearance of choice.
That’s why I’ve decided to support the briefing day run by Crest Advisory. Uniquely among the three organisations offering support, the folk at Crest Advisory have actually been supportive of the role of PCC since before it was proposed, so that’s a welcome bit of variety. They are also a commercial organisation. They are hoping to build a business, and that is clear from the start. I like the simplicity and honesty of this. I know what they are getting from it. With the LGA, there seems also to be an attempt to derive some sustenance from PCC’s mandate.
The event takes place in Crest’s offices in Tavistock Square, London, (WC1H 9LS – 5 minutes walk from Euston) on 26th June 2012, is aimed at prospective PCCs at various stages in the selection or election process, and involves input from senior politicians on a cross-party basis, experts in policing, campaigns and elections, and, er, me.