Friends and family seem to be rather down on the election of police commissioners when most of them admit they don’t know what the role involves. I suspect a malaise born of the need to do some work rather than informed opinion, although plenty of folks with informed opinion are similarly unsure about the changes. Since we are nearly all in the same boat.
Basically the government is splitting out governance from operational policing. The new PCC will set budget, set the amount of council tax that will be used for policing, be responsible for policy, and checking the chief constable fulfills that policy within budget.
He’ll also be required to co-operate with other forces where this can save money, or the home secretary requires it. So expect more co-operation, that could be really good it if works out, since co-operation at this level could spread good practice.
Okay a long list, you are probably too lazy to read them all like I did.
The political party candidates were generally poor I thought. I’m sure they are good upstanding folk, but they generally didn’t impress in terms of knowledge of policing or presentation of policies. Of the party candidates Hogg (Conservative) has great military experience and I wouldn’t hesitate to vote him for a more military role. Nicky Williams (Labour) has probably the best presentation of her ideas and reasons for voting for her, but I find her experience weak compared to some independent candidates.
The independent candidates include current and former chairs of the Devon and Cornwall Police Authority (Greenslade, and John Smith), slightly less impressive experience but the only candidate I noticed saying he’d use evidence led approach was Ivan Jordan.
With the grey areas in the new arrangements (the guidelines expect a grey area between operational and policy decisions) my preference is for an independent candidate, and because of the transition I prefer a candidate with experience of the current system and issues.
Policy wise I find it hard to split the candidates, there seems a fair consensus on the direction of travel, and lack of resources will prevent grand schemes.
Not knowing the candidates personally, I have to go on how they present themselves, and their experience. Here I think Tam MacPherson and Robert Smith let themselves down on not selling themselves well enough.
As such I think I will vote for Greenslade, and then Jordan (yes you get a second choice). John Smith is probably the second best qualified in terms of experience after Greenslade, but he didn’t quite hit the right note with my own views. William Morris seems a bit of a wild card, and certainly seems a plausible contender although his experience is radically different from other candidates. As such if you want to keep your reading down I’d suggest looking at these four independent candidates.