Police Commissioner election – why vote?

Predictions for next week’s Police and Crime Commissioner elections are that the turnout will be low – very low.  An election in November for a position that’s perhaps not been properly explained or justified by the Government which has been determined to introduce it, and at a cost of almost £100 million at a time when police budgets are being cut.  This and a number of other factors will contribute to many people saying ‘why bother voting’.

 I’d share everyone else’s question as to why the Tory Government is so insistent on introducing police commissioners – Labour voted against them on the basis that we already have a good police service that has brought reductions in crime year on year for the past decade and more.  Labour PM Tony Blair promised that we would be tough on crime and tough on the causes of crime.  We didn’t need Police Commissioners to achieve that – we needed more bobbies on the beat and more real powers to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour that was blighting our communities.

But the fact is we are where we are, the election is happening, and in a weeks’ time each area of the country will have elected a Police and Crime Commissioner with sole responsibility for setting local police policy and deciding where budgets will be spent.

As a politically interested person I actually enjoy voting.  I love the feeling of ‘doing your bit’ when I go to the polling station and put my cross against the candidate’s name.  Some people would probably say I’m a bit sad!  I probably am!  But voting in any election is important.  It’s your chance to have your say.  We have a democracy which means there are always winners and losers, but we know it’s a fair process and at least if we’ve voted we can say ‘I didn’t support that’ if our candidate doesn’t win.  Those who don’t vote can’t make any comment or complain when they aren’t happy with the way things are run.

 And whether we agree with Police Commissioners or not, they will exist and they will have significant powers.  So your vote will make a difference as to how our police are run.

 So my message to anyone who’s reading this is please vote and preferably please vote Labour.

Author: Damian Talbot

Damian is the Chair of Blackburn Labour Party. He was elected as a councillor for Mill Hill ward in 2007 and also works in the offices of Jack Straw.

3 thoughts on “Police Commissioner election – why vote?”

  1. Damian you are absolutely right the timing of this election is scandalous, not only is it cold and wet it also starts to get dark at around 4.30pm, this is the time when normally people coming home from work would vote but they will be put of voting because it is dark. Only die hards like yourself would go and vote at that time.
    One can only assume that the Tories have worked out that the only way there candidates will win is if there is a very low turn out!
    which is why we need to encourage as many people as possible to vote!!

  2. I live in Blackburn and have seen no material on this highly significant change. I have not had any approaches from potential candidates nor adequate information on the role, responsibilities and accountabilities, what it means for me and my family and what the benefits and risks are. Another Tory experiment that has not been thought through like the NHS reforms, cut and hope financial policies and the establishment of a volunteer army.

    More information please.

    Mike

  3. Hi Mike. Your comments highlight the real difficulty in managing this election both at the time of year and with the limited resources that political parties have. The Labour Party was keen for the PCC election to take place in May – on the same day as the local council elections. This would have saved a fortune to councils as polling stations could have been used for both elections and local parties would have been able to put out combined literature as well as canvassing for the local council candidate and the Police Commissioner candidate. Labour has a strong track record of campaigning – far stronger than the Tories. It’s our view that the Tories have deliberately set the election for November as they know this will make it more difficult to campaign and as a result depress turnout. Of course if the turnout is very low (say below 20%) you could then ask whether the position has a real mandate. As regards the question of actual details about the position our home page sets out the basic position – it is quite simple – the Police Commissioner will have personal responsibility for local police policy and the entire local police budget. From the point of view of the candidates you might like to visit Clive Grunshaw’s website http://clive4lancspcc.wordpress.com/ Apart from that I would refer you to Labour’s record as compared to the Conservative record.

    Hope this helps a bit.

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