Finally, just a few weeks before the elections, the media and Government seem to have spluttered into life in their task of letting us all know that on 15th November, we will have the opportunity to vote for a Police & Crime Commissioner (PCC). What is a PCC? The Government recently introduced legislation abolishing the Police Authorities, to which individual forces reported, replacing them with PCCs, individuals who will be elected to set the priorities and budgets of Police Forces. Is this a good thing? My main concern is that the move will lead to a politicisation of the Police and that can’t be a good thing. As an Independent councillor I see the damage done at local Councils by the presence of political parties. Rather than working together for the benefit of the community, party-affiliated councillors often end up following the party line, set from above with opposing parties taking polarised positions. That’s why I chose to be Independent. That and the fact that I didn’t feel that any Party was worthy of my membership fee. I can only see harm from introducing these same parties into the management of the Police.
It doesn’t seem as though the elections have grabbed the public attention either with some polls forecasting turnout of just 15%. The downside of this is that the elected candidate hardly has a strong mandate. The upside is that your vote will count disproportionately.
Who will I be supporting I hear you ask? Well, there is an Independent standing and while I may naturally be more inclined to support her, I want to see what the others have to say before making up my mind. I’ll be attending the Taunton Question Time to help me decide. Having said that, one thing is for sure; I will not be voting for the Conservative candidate, Ken Maddock. Mad Ken took his almighty axe to Somerset County Council where he was Leader until recently, slashing budgets regardless of the importance of the service or the electorate’s views. Whether it was slashing the Youth Service, destroying the arts budget, selling off public forests, attempting to abandon all spending on highways maintenance, closing our libraries, shutting our recycling centres and introducing charges, Ken did the lot. If you want the Avon & Somerset Police Service to be decimated in the same way, crack on, vote for Ken. But he won’t be getting my vote.
Footnote – added 23/10/12 09:19 Link to national poll showing that by far the largest group indicating a voting preference likely to opt for non-political candidates. Police & Crime Commissioner Poll