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.