“Keep politics out of policing”: the sequel…?

The “Local Government Innovation Taskforce”, commissioned for the Labour Party’s Policy Review, has today published its “Final Report: People-powered public services”. Ed Miliband has written on this in the Guardian, under the heading “The future is local – if Labour is elected”.

The report and associated article contain important implications for the Police and Crime Commissioner model of police governance. For example, from page 5 of the Taskforce report:

Local Government Innovation Taskforce Report p5

 

The “local authority Policing Boards” were first proposed (alongside two alternative approaches to policing governance) by Lord Stevens’ Review of Policing (page 17):

Lord Stevens Report p17

One consequence of such a “Policing Board” approach would almost inevitably be much greater direct control by the two main political parties over policing governance. Currently there are 16 Conservative, 13 Labour and 12 Independent PCCs, elected in the Police and Crime Commissioner elections in November 2012. Although there are many councils with “no overall control”, the “leaders of each local authority” (i.e. the proposed members of any new Policing Boards) are currently predominantly Labour or Conservative. So almost every Policing Board would be made up of Labour and Conservative party-sponsored Local Authority Leaders, with very few (if any) independents, or indeed councillors of any other political party.

“Keep politics out of policing” – the campaign message of many an Independent PCC candidate – resonated with a significant proportion of the public (and, in many cases, with police officers and staff) back in November 2012. Might Independent PCCs be tempted to resurrect that battle-cry?

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1 Comment

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One response to ““Keep politics out of policing”: the sequel…?

  1. The main problem I see with this proposal is proportionality. A number of forces have 1 or 2 large cities surrounded by rural areas.
    If these rural areas get ‘precious’ what will happen to city policing?
    Far too often the policing of rural areas is dominated by the ‘stranger danger’ mentality.
    For me the concept would be much stronger by elected representatives of each council area, the number of which would vary with population for a truer attempt at real democratic control.

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