Thursday, 25 October 2012

Policing Commisars

We have elections for the brand new concept of Police and Crime Commissioners in a few weeks. For me, the most pressing question to date has been what I'd have thought was a very basic one, `who the fuck are they`? I only got the names the other day, but as to my previous question `WTFAT`, I'm still none the wiser. Voting for someone whose credentials and abilities are a mystery is just like any other election. I was really hoping for something better than this.

And another minor point; anyone know if we're going to get  `Courts Commissioners` as well; people who can oversee and bring some understanding and relevency to sentencing and methods of criminals' rehabilitation? It occurs to me that as good a level of service and efficiency as the police may attain, it won't matter one iota if naff all happens once the crims are processed into a spluttering, stuttering system - a bit like putting top grade fuel into an engine that has no oil. Or is that more vital information that has yet to be made available to me?


BillB said...

Our elections are coming up too and I too ask WTFAT. You are supposed to vote for some people you know noting about.

(these are primarily local races and local reps for the state govmint. )

So I generally revert to 2 methods of deciphering.

1. Look at their description of their background. Is it deliberately vague? (eg, 'Public advocate"

2. Who supports them

johnd2008 said...

I have just found out who the candidates are in my area. The usual suspects, 1 Labour, 1 Conservative,1 Libdem and 1 Independent.Never heard of any of them and no indication of what they intend, if elected. To cap it all, we have two votes so can choose more than one. No column on the ballot paper for "None of the above"

Quartermaster said...

To paraphrase our former speaker of the House of Representatives, "you'll just have to elect them to see what they'll do."

Personally, I like the idea of Court Commissioners. It would be really nice if they had the power to review all sentencing, and if the Judge let some scum off with a penny ante sentence for some heinous crime, then the Commissioner sentences the Judge to the sentence he should have given the crook. Throw in a few such disciplinary actions for the appellate and Supreme courts and we might actually get somewhere with crime.

Hogdayafternoon said...

BillB & QM: Your comments, coming from the land of democracy, are strangely reassuring.

johnd2008: Thanks for looking in. I too have found the same suspects hiding in the shadow of apathy around here. No vote from me either. But even if I did it wouldn't matter.

Blue Eyes said...

My feeling on this process is in two parts. I believe that, because the British sense of public service in politics and the civil service has vanished without a trace, it is now necessary to have votes on these commissioners when before it was not. As is beginning to become clear, the last government made every effort to ensure that its supporters were placed in every available position of authority. See Ian Blair, for example. We can't now roll back from politics in every walk of life so we may as well have it done transparently.

Second part is that these are the first elections for the roles. We will see some shocking people being elected with negative consequences. That should ensure that people take the elections more seriously next time. Exactly this happened with elected mayors: we got jokers like the Monkey in Doncaster or Ken in London.

Hogdayafternoon said...

Blue: Bang on. I seriously cannot vote for anyone in my area, which is a pisser, but I just cannot.

Tadanori said...

No qualifications needed but lots of advertising money from sources with dubious intentions and Bingo; an elected commissary err, I mean Commissioner. The problem with this is it could very well circumnavigate the 'old boys' network and that just won't do. It would be simply intolerable if new money was elected over old money and the trusted, decades old system of a pat on the back and 'he's one of us'. What will they say down at the club? Whatho?

Anonymous said...

Selecting a Commissioner who has NO experience with the criminal justice system carries a high potential for disaster.

Policing is a difficult job no matter where you might be. My own experience was that those who have never done the job have absolutely no clue as to how difficult, how dangerous and how complicated it can be.

Perhaps someone might suggest to the authorities that it would make more sense to have the Commissioners selected by a board made up of police leadeership, someone from the court system, and someone from the Crown prosecutor's staff. And then periodically put the question to the electorate "Shall Commissioner So-and-So be retained in office?"

That would hopefully ensure that the individual at least knew his arse from second base when first appointed, and still give the electorate the opportunity to get rid of an incompetent.

TonyF said...

This voting for someone to do a job that they will not, and cannot, be capable of is a complete nonsense. FFS I could stand, and if I had the money I would have a good chance of getting the job. I would still be totally incompetent. I wouldn't know if the people who report to me were being honest (which I doubt they would be)to me. They would have no knowledge of my back ground, or my experience. Why would a the policeman on the street (as it were) trust me? We never trusted GD Officers that were sometimes put in charge of techies. They didn't have a clue. We used to tell them anything to get them to bugger off and annoy someone else. We much preferred leadership to flagship. It didn't happen often thank heavens, but it was misery when it did. To all parties.

BillB said...

In many ways I admire your judicial system better than ours (US). Certainly in the area of Civil law and torts - here lawyers make millions - sometimes 100s of millions, appealing to the feelings of juries and as a result - driving so much business off shore.

Take the safety helmet industry. I think Bell Helmets - once dominated the industry - had to declare bankruptcy to get rid of all the product liability suits.

Don't know what the answer is. Certainly an overseer as the UK seems to have - rights a lot of wrongs.

Here - in some states/localities, judges are elected. (the smaller level judges). Federal judges are appointed at all levels.

The elected ones are politicians first. To your question HD about the unknown - here's a prime example over here. "Vote for Joe Blow (as a municipal judge) - tough on crime".

No record to see or know of - (are any going to run on the "weak on crime" platform?)

Perhaps my father had it right.

Vote out all the incumbents. If they are too stupid to steal enough the first time, don't give them a 2nd chance.

Blue Eyes said...

There are an awful lot of false premises on this thread now.

The elections are for a role called Police and Crime Commissioners NOT Chief Officers.

The PCCs simply replace the Police Authorities with a single, directly-elected person.

The PCC will not be making operational decisions and quite right too.

Anonymous said...


Nip over to Lex's site, there is a new post from Kat.

Paul L. Quandt

Hogdayafternoon said...

Includes Prescott.