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Police Commissioners

A picture for Police and Crime Commissioners

ELECTED POLICE COMMISSIONERS. Couple of Headlines on the News Page of Google caught my eye. 'Plans for the first police commissioner elections this autumn have been thrown into fresh disarray with the disclosure that magistrates – who make up a significant number of the candidates – have been banned from standing.( From the Guardian). 'A second candidate for the job of police and crime commissioner has been forced to withdraw his application because of a minor offence he was convicted of 47 years ago at 14. **** *******, Labour's PCC candidate in Derbyshire, who has been vice-chairman of the Derbyshire police authority for the last three years, said on Friday he had made "the difficult decision" after receiving clarification from the Home Office and Electoral Commission that juvenile convictions for offences that carry a prison sentence if committed by an adult bar candidates.'( From the Guardian.) Possibly this is a recurrence of the Caesar's wife Dilemma ? First one might wonder how many Magistrates have an entirely clean slate before the time of their appointment to the Bench, let alone after it. Does anyone do a CRB check on them. What of those members of the House of Lords who get detained at her Majesty's Pleasure, or of other 'Office Holders' who offend ? Parables of 'Lost Sheep' are one thing, but surely there is an overwhelming majority of the community who have neither offended nor been caught offending. Should those who offended 'Let Conscience make Cowards' of them, or just go for it, as I suspect most people might, for to rake another chestnut from the fire 'Feint heart never won fair lady'. Way back in the late sixties, the call went out for Lay Magistrates, and when I answered it, The Clerk of The Wokingham Bench sent me a questionnaire which I was invited to fill in and return to him. Seemingly thereon one was expected to extol ones virtues. I took it for granted that an unblemished escutcheon was called for, and would have been surprised if others volunteering their services did not have one too . I never returned the Papers firstly because one seemed to have been expected to have an exceedingly high opinion of oneself, secondly because I had a then unresolved Capital Gains Tax situation, and thirdly because the Government of the day, finding that it was but the usual suspects, such as I , who were volunteering their services, amended their specification as a need for Blue Collar Magistrates. At a personal level heard little more of the Magistracy, until well past retirement age when it was suggested that I might submit my name for consideration. 'I too might have been a Judge ' If only I'd had the Latin.' I do not see becoming a Commissioner as being compatible with the Magistracy. Do some of the Bench regard their Courts as what used to be termed a Police Court, or what ? I have no knowledge of anyone be he or she a Magistrate or not, who has submitted their name for Election as a Police Commissioner, but would be suspicious of the motivation of any Magistrate who might, for I am given to wondering whether such persons have the impartiality the rest of us expect of their High Office.Of course Magistrates wishing to stand for Election as a Police Commissioner should resign before embarking on the process, whilst all Candidates should have a 'Clean Slate'.

Do we really need the Politicisation of the Police Force. If it is now deemed to be a necessity it is because The Hendon Police College Entry devised by the Late Lord Trenchard was abolished, for something perceived to be more Politically Correct, and dumbing down anything is seldom leads to success.One can not doubt that down-grading the rank of Chief Constable will again deter the best from joining the Police Service in the first place. It might be as well to remember that one intent of Trenchard's Hendon, was to rest the Constabulary from the less than successful control of a succession of retired Colonels.

Independent would be Commissioners resent that any candidates should be Political Party Nominations. It is feared that Party Funding and Foot Soldiers will not be in anyone's best interest, and who could doubt that to be so? But then of course such has become the way of our Democracy,the better man or woman for the job loses out to the Pressure Group nominee.

contact : John B. Pope
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