Save Us, Lib Dems, You’re Our Only Hope!

Yvette Cooper on the HoL vote on elected police commissioners:

The House of Lords vote on elected police commissioners will show whether the Liberal Democrats are really prepared to raise a “louder voice” on their policy concerns, and whether the Tories are really prepared to listen. But behind the coalition power politics is also a vital issue of principle: these US-style proposals pose significant risks for our centuries-old British tradition of impartial policing.

We have ‘impartial policing’ right now, do we? With all the hate crime and domestic violence units, the ‘community engagement teams’?

Not to mention the likes of the West Midlands Police’s ‘anti-Muslim defamation squad’ monitoring the nation’s broadcasters

Nick Clegg has promised a more “businesslike relationship” after disaster at the polls, and is desperate to show a bit of Lib Dem muscle. His parliamentary aide has put police and crime commissioners second on the list – after the NHS – of results the Lib Dems need.

What a telling phrase – ‘results the LibDems need’. Not ‘results the country needs’…

… the plans cut across the principles espoused by all parties, and across our British constitutional traditions too.

Considerable policing power will be put into the hands of a single politician, elected only once every four years. They will have the power to hire and fire chief constables, but there are no proper checks and balances on their power. The policing and crime panel is just a toothless watchdog with no power to intervene.Nor are there proper safeguards for the operational independence of the police. The government’s guidance that the commissioners should not “fetter” operational independence has no statutory force, and isn’t strong enough to protect against interference in individual cases.

Funny  to see Yvette, Mrs Ed Balls herself, suddenly professing to worry about our ‘British constitutional traditions’, isn’t it? The more the usual suspects (and the police themselves) scream and kick against this idea, the more I begin to warm to it…

… these plans are opposed by former police chiefs, by crime and justice experts, constitutional experts and, according to a recent poll, by the majority of the public too.

See? What’s not to like? If these ‘worthies’ are agin’ it, I’m for it! They wouldn’t, after all, be so keen to stop it unless it was a real chance for people to have a say, would they?

5 comments for “Save Us, Lib Dems, You’re Our Only Hope!

  1. Lord T
    May 15, 2011 at 7:10 pm

    If the LibDims were our only hope I’d be long gone.

  2. May 15, 2011 at 7:27 pm

    My opinion is that the Limp Dumbs in the lords ought to be ashamed of themselves. All this stuff about democracy and reform and as soon as the electorate are offered a smidgen more say in the world they vote it down.

    Mind you would a “progressive” party ever vote for a policy where the police would have to deal with crime rather than enforcing the PC agenda?

    • May 16, 2011 at 5:53 am

      Probably not. Or if they did, they’d then try to rig the election!

  3. john in cheshire
    May 15, 2011 at 8:36 pm

    I hope the Tories develop a little of the backbone that they used to have and ensure this legislation is passed. If elected police commissioners ensures that the likes of Ian Blair are never again promoted to such positions, then it will be well worthwhile. And if Ms Cooper/Balls is against it, then it must have some merit. I’m afraid that I can’t stand to even look at her, let alone listen to what she might have to say.

  4. PT
    May 16, 2011 at 9:48 am

    Locally elected Police Commissioner=Local Politician with IMmense Power.
    Would this Commissioner be subject to the police discipline regs, as is the Chief Constable? No? Then this alone makes any Commissioner much less accountable than a Chief Constable.
    Given how media hacks have always had an eye for a good story, particularly one involving the police, in what way would a Commissioner do a better job of making the police more accountable than local and national media do already?
    I can see why the various parties would like their own placemen in such a position, and it would certainly be a plum position for some faithful servant, but as for the rest of us, it’s been said so often before – “Be careful what you wish for.”

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