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Wednesday, 30 July 2014

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Taking away what we never wanted anyway

Oh dear, here we go again. Just when you think all the angry shouting is subsiding, up pops a noisy voice of dissent demanding to be heard.

Richard Rhodes photo
Richard Rhodes

Police and crime commissioners should be abolished and replaced by a new system, a review of policing in England and Wales has said.

The review led by ex-Metropolitan Police Commissioner Lord Stevens has said PCCs, introduced only a year ago, should be scrapped in 2016 and more power given to councillors and local authorities – where it always used to be before unpopular upheaval forced the alternative.

Well, there’s a funny thing. No really – allow yourself a little chuckle. Isn’t that what you said in the first place, before the time, bother, bluster and expense involved in those now famously phoney elections threw wisdom and resources to the wind and gave us what the vast majority of us had clearly said we never wanted?

Looks like the majority wasn’t alone in its thinking. This review – reportedly the most comprehensive study of policing for half a century – is right behind us. But what exactly does that mean?

Not a lot, apparently. The Government’s response has been that it will look at the report (quite a concession, really) but insists it’s not required to implement any of its recommendations – and there are 37 of them.

Proposals include another area of contention we thought had bitten the dust years ago – the merging of some forces.

This review suggests three possible alternatives: locally negotiated mergers and collaboration agreements; 10 regional police forces; or a national service.

Labour tried to introduce something similar seven years ago. Cumbria was proposed for merger with Lancashire. But that plan was seen off. Or was it?

Up again for examination, there’s a definite sense of deja vu about the whole thing. It sits alongside a sneaking suspicion that what we have in this country now is a stand-still, going-nowhere talking-shop, where a great deal of hot air is blown at frequently repeated junctures, almost always by highly paid public servants, who’d prefer we never have the audacity to disagree with them.

And then nothing much happens. It’s a self-propelling costly cycle of nowt.

Is that what passes for democracy these days? We’re told what to think, what to say, where all our opinions should lie – and then get what we’re given and told to stop making waves?

Pretty much, by the looks of things. Police and crime commissioners are the classic case in point. Fewer than 12 per cent of eligible voters even bothered going to the polls for them. Having made clear an election wasn’t wanted, why would they?

And now, just when it seems there might be cause to unfurl a banner bearing the celebratory script “Told you so” our highly paid talking heads inform us they don’t have to do a single thing about us having been right.

They want us to engage in national issues but only on their terms. Speak only if we agree with them.

Know your place? You certainly should. Democracy makes you the employer and paymaster of public servants who insist you should think as they direct, speak only when spoken to and always to their script.

Make a noise, state your case, stand your ground. It’s your right.

Have your say

Anne, I'm surprised that you of all people haven't realised that we all live in a police state somewhat similar to Satalinist Russia. The good old USA even speaks the same language that we will do soon, (we always slavishly follow the bloody Yanks).
Everything that is not in agreement with our clowns at Westminster is usually treated with contempt as after all they know best. So lets all keep our heads down and be obedient little drones, doing as you say will bring down the thought police on our heads.
By the way, since when did we live in a democracy? Our current system needs to be overhauled before that happens. It is a Parliamentary democracy and thats a long way from the real thing. Once proportional representation is the norm we will have to put up with dictators such as you highlight in your article.

Posted by John Battersby-Hill on 27 November 2013 at 19:45

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