This Thursday (November 15) we are being asked to vote for a Police and Crime Commissioner.
Now I am not the brightest of sparks but I have to admit I am stumped.
It started when the television told me to ‘tell us which crimes you want tackled in your local area’.
I have to admit I shouted ‘All of them, idiot!’ at the screen.
Surely the clue is the fact they are called ‘crimes’. They are not ‘slightly naughty things’.
And who is going to say, “I want you to focus on drug dealing; a bit of armed robbery is fine.”
It’s stupid. Plus it gets worse.
The government thinks voting for a police and crime commissioner will make things more transparent.
Call me a cynic if you will, but since when did adding politics to anything make it clearer?
Politics should not come into policing.
Even the independent candidates will come with their own agendas.
I don’t want people sitting in a room talking about things and trying to score points – which, let’s face it, seems to be politicians’ favourite pastime.
I want them doing what needs to be done so we can feel safe in the cities, towns and our homes.
Why not just leave them free to get on with the job in hand?
This new commissioner role will oversee the hiring and firing of chief constables. They will set the budget and how it is spent for the entire county.
All while being paid a salary between £65,000 to £100,000.
I wonder what the bobby on the street thinks about that?
Especially in light of all the recent cuts.
If we need a commissioner, shouldn’t it be a promoted role from within the force? Not based on who is the best at public speaking, or who can stump up enough cash for the campaign.
When the votes are counted and the spiel begins about how the numbers are low because ‘people don’t care’, I hope someone whose voice reaches the right ears thinks maybe, just maybe, we are not being given the right options.
~ Originally published on November 8, 2012, in the Observer newspaper series ~