In a speech on 26th November Chris Grayling set out some details on how his party see elected police commissioners, or police chiefs, would function.
In his speech Grayling raised a number of points, however one stood out mainly for the stupidity on which it is based. Discussing the possibility that an 'extremist' might be elected as a police commissioner, Grayling said: "For the major political parties, one of the key lessons of recent years is that British voters tend to elect on the centre ground.". Perhaps, Mr. Grayling, this is due to the fact that there is little, in effect, between the beliefs of any of what is termed 'the three main political parties'. It is indisputable that all three main political parties have, over the years, usurped more and more of the 'freedoms' that the people had and have resorted to 'instructing' us on how we should live, think and act.
As an example of 'central control' by government, this statement should cause initial cause for concern: "I should also say that I would be very surprised if we are elected next year and go ahead with our plans if some of the newly elected local police commissioners are not drawn from those who are already chairing police authorities around the country...". Why is it necessary that of those available for election, the electorate should be forced to consider candidates who have been part of the 'system' and who have the 'system' ingrained in their thinking? Surely any member of the public should have the opportunity to put themselves up for election if they consider they have the policies that local people would embrace? If this latter point was not accepted, then considering Grayling's background his election to become an MP would surely have been somewhat 'hampered'?
In creating locally elected police commissioners Grayling discusses a consultation process with police authorities and bodies - how about 'consultation' with the electorate, Mr. Grayling? And should you deign to 'consult' with the electorate, Mr. Grayling, it is to be hoped that a promise would be given that those views would be acted upon and not ignored. as has so often been the case in the past.
Grayling's speech is, regrettably, all to familiar in that 'central control' is all too evident, which in turn makes a mockery of the idea for having a locally elected police chief. To provide true localism to the law & order question and thus permit local communities to decide what 'level' of law & order they want, police forces need to operate and be accountable to those living within their local authority, an elected police chief needs the authority to deliver what those people want. It is all to obvious that under a Conservative administration 'central control' will still be all too evident - and 'localism' that ain't!