THIS November the public will be voting for their new Police and Crime Commissioner.
The Government says that this will encourage decision-making on crime and safety, to be more in tune with what is needed locally.
However, the real danger of the current police reform is actually the opposite, as in, an over politicising of the police.
This is because, even though ‘anybody’ can stand as a Police and Crime candidate it seems that most candidates already have a strong allegiance to one political party or other. So, instead of electing an independent thinker, we’re more than likely to be voting for just another politician.
The Universities’ Police Science Institute said candidates standing independently would struggle to get their voices heard because of ‘restrictions’ on election publicity imposed by the Coalition Government.
For example, the Home Office will not fund a mail shot for individual candidates, meaning candidates may have to pay up to £75,000 to send letters out to prospective voters ahead of elections.
How many people can afford that? Not many equal opportunities there then? Also, candidates will need to put down a deposit of £5,000, which will be returned if they receive more than five per cent of the votes cast in the election. But if you can’t afford the publicity, how will people know to vote for you? In other words, the party affiliated candidates will have the heavy advantage of financial, practical and historical support from the party ‘machine’ and the public.
But don’t take my word for it, I’m still learning. If you want to get informed, take yourself down to Priory Meadow shopping centre today (Friday), Sussex Police Authority will be there all day to answer all your queries. Or check out www.homeoffice.gov.uk/police/police-crime-commissioners.
Personally, I am totally opposed to this massively important change happening in such a hurried and uninformed way. So, I’d like to know what would happen if nobody voted.