Posts Tagged ‘Labour selection for police commissioners’

Question time for commissioner candidates

28/05/2012, 07:00:14 AM

by Kevin Meagher

Ballot papers to choose Labour candidates for the new Police and Crime Commissioner roles are set to land on members’ doormats in coming days.

Despite the party’s opposition to the policy, these are important and powerful new roles. Commissioners will set the strategy and budget for their force and revolutionise public accountability, replacing anonymous police authorities with high-profile figureheads to stand up for the public’s priorities.

At least that’s the promise. But will commissioners go native and become little more than the dancing puppet of chief constables? Or will they throw their weight around wrestle with the top brass over where the split between ‘strategic’ and ‘operational’ lies?

Just as importantly, will they reside in their new plush new offices or spend their time out and about, working with communities to tackle crime and improve public safety?

Take it as read each of the candidates will campaign against the government’s crazy police cuts which will see up to 16,000 officers, a similar number of back office roles and 1,800 PCSOs face the chop.

But what are their views on some of the other big issues? Here are a few suggestions about what we should be asking them.

1)    What are candidates’ views on the deployment of water cannons, tasers and baton rounds (rebranded ‘plastic bullets’)? Any repeat of last summer’s riots will undoubtedly lead to further calls for these potentially lethal weapons to be deployed.  However Association of Chief Police Officers President Sir Hugh Orde described water cannons as “useless” in tackling the riots we experienced last August.

Will your commissioner stand up against this creeping militarisation of our policing?


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