Even with the embarrassment of G4S there must still be some money in policing as another day passes and another company pops up to offer services, this time to candidates, PCCs and Police and Crime Panels (who ain’t got much cash, so that may just be for show).
The company in question is “Policing for All“, who launch their offer today. This all sounds very inclusive, but this is the sometimes topsy-turvy world of policing, where ‘equalities’ can mean favouring certain groups, and where ‘diversity’ is about looking different but sounding the same, so we should dig a little deeper.
Now, I’m been rough on some outfits in the past. The LGA and APCCs would probably never forgive me if I didn’t ask the question of any newcomer as to what view they had historically taken of the PCC reform. Well let’s have a look – who are “Policing for All” and what have they said about PCCs?
They are primarily Paul West and Jessica de Garzia, along with an Advisory Board, and their ‘previous’ runs like this:-
Paul West – former Chief Constable of West Mercia police – said in a Guardian article less than a year ago “underlying tensions remain between government ministers and senior officers, and these can only increase as the most fundamental and ill thought-through constitutional change to policing for 50 years – the introduction of all-powerful “police and crime commissioners” – approaches“.
Jessica de Garzia – lawyer who has worked on both sides of the pond, now working over here with the benefit of some experience in a place where people get to elect important parts of the criminal justice system. In this presentation to a group at the House of Lords she agreed that as PCCs only have the non-operational elements of policing to deal with, “the temptation to meddle in operational independence will be irresistible.” and said here that “Due to the size of force areas, PCCs cannot adequately represent the interests of the entire community.”
The Advisory Board is
Lord Imbert – former Met Commissioner – In the debate in the House of Lords managed to call PCCs both a “discredited American system” and “Commissars”, and worried that we would next be electing High Court judges. If only.
Baroness Harris – Lib Dem Vice President of the Association of Police Authorities – loves governing without an electoral mandate so much that she proposed the amendment in the Lords to have PCCs elected not by the public, but by the Police and Crime Panel from within its members.
Baroness Henig – Labour President of the Association of Police Authorities – and, I have to say, always very nice to me and notoriously hard-working and effective too – but when considering the legislation which sought to establish Police Commissioners in the House of Lords spoke of her “deep opposition to this Bill because it fatally undermines the principles on which policing has been delivered in this country for nearly 200 years.”
Dr Justice Tankebe – Cambridge Criminology lecturer – expert on police legitimacy, who hasn’t provided any easily locatable killer quotes for or against PCCs. Aw, shucks!
Rt. Rev. Anthony Priddis – the Bishop of Hereford – who attacked the proposals for PCCs in the House of Lords, as the Bible requires him to do. Oh no, wait a minute, that’s something else.
Not the most pro-PCC of crowds, is it? It’s that strange type of diversity again. What they need perhaps is some balance – someone from the right of politics, not in the House of Lords, with a background in crime and policing, who is notoriously in favour of the PCC reform, and suddenly has time on their hands to advise PCCs?
Do you think it likely that, now I’ve written this article, this bunch are likely to ring me up and offer me a job?
No? Me neither. But why not? And does your answer to that question also call into question why any PCC could sensibly offer a job to them?