Police Commissioner election is 'bunkum'
Your full page item is indeed very illuminating and shows just what a load of bunkum the Police and Crime Commissioner election is.
The opening statement "Current position", shows that the Police Authority is made up of nine councillors from local authorities, and the 'role includes holding the Constabulary to account'. (I recall this as the Watch Committee in the mid-20th Century).
The change, it is claimed in the new arrangements, will give "a voice at the highest level and give the public the ability to ensure their Police are accountable". Later in the description of the post we read, "The Commissioner will be able to appoint his or her own team BUT will be held to account by a Police & Crime Panel of a minimum of 10 persons and a maximum of 20".
So what has changed in reality? As far as I can deduce simply an additional cost of £85,000 a year on the council tax bill for no real change whatever. All we, the general public need to know are the names of those councillors on the existing committee to whom we may make representations regarding policing matters.
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Valid until: Sunday, May 26 2013
JOHN DOUGLAS Bailbrook Lane Bath
On Thursday, November 15, we are invited to vote for a Police Commissioner for the Avon and Somerset Police Authority area.
This person will replace the independent Police Authority made up of people from different backgrounds and political persuasions. Most of the candidates have been nominated by political parties who are the only organisations with the resources to reach out to such a large constituency stretching from Bath through Bristol to Weston-super-mare. Thus this appointment is likely to become politicised, which is a shame.
Moreover, most people do not know what the job entails or who the candidates are. In addition, the election has been arranged at a time when there are no other elections being held (wasting much money) so that people will have to make a special trip to vote. The best guess is that fewer than 20 per cent of the electorate will vote, perhaps even as low as 10 per cent. This means the elected candidate will not have a mandate from the people for whatever policies they espouse.
Normally, I am all in favour of the democratic process, but I cannot see why the government has tried to import this American idea into a well-established policing structure and I very much doubt that it will work in this country. Every vote that is cast will be used as ammunition by the government to try to prove that the elections are valid. Thus, rather sadly, I find myself joining many other respected commentators in recommending that people do not vote in this election (but if you do vote, do consider voting for the one independent candidate).
CHRIS CHATFIELD Partis Way Bath