Tuesday, 30 October 2012

It's The Police Elections Yay

Aw yeah police elections are coming up, hands up who is excited! Yeahhhh.

I've just done a tiny bit of research on the candidates for the Thames Valley, and I wholeheartedly want to want to say I am in support of the independent candidate Patience Tayo Awe. This is due to the fact that I rather like what she says about the fact that she's running as an independent candidate. She says:

If elected, I will involve and represent all the people impartially.I am not affiliated to any political party. Keep political party politics out of policing to maintain the integrity of the Police service and truly empower the people.

Right on. She continues:

I finished my first degree over 20 years ago, completed my MSc IT postgraduate degree 12 years ago and became a PRINCE2 Registered Practitioner in 2004. I have worked in various sectors, as a front office cashier, teacher, insurance marketing executive, banker, software tester, IT Capacity Planner, Project Manager also served as a Charity Trustee. I am a results-driven person that is very passionate about volunteering and serving the community. ICT is crucial in fighting crime and ensuring we live in a safer community.

OK well I'm not entirely sure what a police commissioner is actually supposed to do but I think it might have a bit more to it than knowing lots about IT.

Party politics and policing will create worse problems; it will create avenue for partiality, unfairness, double standards and all the associated social imbalances and also compromise the integrity of the police. With due respect, party politicians cannot be trusted, they have made countless ‘u turns’, expenses scandal, £14m train fiasco, G4 scandal, some are out of touch with the local people, even insult the police. We had these same party politicians when resentment and frustration against the police reached boiling point and there was a nationwide riot last year? Local people emerged as heroes to save the situation. The same way local people made the Olympics and Paralympics a huge success. Please reflect on this. Make a difference and please vote for me. Thank you in anticipation of your vote.

Why is there a question mark in the middle of that paragraph? There definitely were riots last year.

Next up, UKIP. What's Barry Cooper got to say for himself?

I have absolutely no professional experience with the criminal justice system and am totally free of the preconceptions, prejudices and institutional inertia that come with such experience, which allows me to look at the issues and realties facing the police with an unprejudiced and fresh pair of eyes.

In the summer after I did my A-levels I was looking for work and in the local paper saw an ad called Experienced Forklift Truck Driver. If only I'd known that I could have applied anyway and just made it clear that I was free of the preconceptions, prejudices and institutional inertia that comes with knowing how to drive a forklift truck. What a fool I was.

The Thames Valley Police is one of the best, if not the best, force in the country. 

In my head this statement sounds a little bit like a card saying 'World's Best Dad' would, were I a dad and it was father's day. So, Barry - why should people in the Thames Valley vote for you?

I am one of them. I live in the Thames Valley; my family and I rely upon the Thames Valley Police to protect us from crime.

So, vote for Barry as he'll try to do a good job out of blind self-interest. 

Thus far the coalition imposed cuts have been implemented in a rational and sensible fashion with little effect on operational capability. It is my intention to continue that process.

Oh really.

I would like to see police numbers raised, not cut.


To that end, I will fight vigorously against further cuts, and do so in an open and public manner to honestly communicate with people how the priorities of the three old parties, especially profligate spending on irresponsible vanity projects such as HS2 and a ring-fenced and rising foreign aid budget, is having a detrimental effect on the safety of the community.

Ah, of course - how silly of me to forget what the real threat to local policing is: giving money to people in the developing world. How very very silly indeed. And of course, as police commissioner for the Thames Valley our hero Barry Cooper will of course be able to influence the foreign aid budget.

What would Barry like to change about local policing?

The need to improve morale is incredibly important, and a lot can be done in a very short space of time to raise the spirits of our police officers.

And what are your top crime priorities?

A zero-tolerance approach to “gateway” level crime such as anti-social behaviour and so-called “petty” crime.

Yeah, throw away the key. In conclusion: the UKIP candidate is totally nuts. Surprise surprise.

Let's compare him with the Liberal Democrat candidate, who overall sounds like quite a nice man.

I am especially interested in policies that will reduce the number of young people entering into a life of crime. Fewer young criminals means fewer lifelong criminals.

But on the other hand he is a Lib Dem so let's not even consider taking him seriously.

Next, the conservative.

Soldier, aviator, explorer, businessman, councillor, and an experienced members of the Police Authority with a proven record of improving performance in Thames.

What's that song that's suddenly in your head? Why if it aint So Macho by Sinitta. She don't want no seven stone weakling, no boy who thinks he's a girl . And neither should you. Vote conservative. What's his vision for policing in the Thames Valley?

To reduce crime in Thames Valley, and catch those that commit it. 

Shit man, some crazy ass radical views there. Why should people vote for you?

I commanded the Army helicopters in the Falkland Islands in the latter half of 1982

Fair enough.

 I have both a practical and academic knowledge of terrorism.

He's a terrorist! I knew it. To be fair to him he actually sounds quite competent and experienced. But he is also a rancid tory milksnatching baby eater. So no dice.

Finally the Labour candidate. What does he want to change?

Stop the cuts to police numbers that will mean a slower response to 999 calls, less visible policing and less capacity to investigate crime

Good good. What's his most memorable experience of the police locally?

Repeatedly reporting anti-social behaviour, but being frustrated by a slow and inadequate response from local police.

How dare he criticise the police like that. How. Very. Dare. He.

His priorities are anti-social behaviour, drug addiction and domestic violence. He's a barrister and has worked in both defence and prosecution. He's an advocate of reforms.

Right, you might have guessed it that at this point I'm starting to lean towards voting Labour. I wanted to go for the independent but I just don't think she sounds as good a candidate. But hold up what's this?

The supplementary vote system will be used in the PCC elections. This is currently the system used to elect mayors (e.g. Mayor of London), the closest existing role to PCCs. Under the supplementary vote system, a voter is asked to indicate first and second preferences. If no candidate wins 50 per cent of the first preference votes, the two candidates with the highest number of first preference votes go forward to a second round.
In the second round, candidates who were eliminated in the previous round have the second preference indicated on the ballot paper allocated to the remaining candidates. The process continues until a candidates passes the 50% + 1 threshold to secure a plurality of votes.

Yay. I can vote for Patience after all. Or maybe I could even vote UKIP for a laugh. Why not eh.

But what is the police and crime commissioner even supposed to do? What even is a PCC. What.

Well, a lil bit of reading (specifically on this page) has enlightened me. The PCC is supposed to hold the police to account, to represent normal people and to make decisions about the budget. Everywhere in the country will have a PCC, apart from London where the mayor is in charge of all that stuff.

So basically the PCC will do what Boris Johnson does but only in matters relating to policing and crime. And not, say, public transportation.

The job is pretty important. The police are supposed to exist to stop crime and catch criminals, but there are countless stories of the police getting things very seriously wrong.

Blair peach: dead.
Jean-Charles de Menezes: dead.
Ian Tomlinson: dead.
Alexander Litvenenko: dead.

Actually that last one wasn't to do with the police, that was Russians.

Last Summer PC Alex McFarlane repeatedly called a black man in police custody a "nigger".
In 2010 Alfie Meadows required brain surgery after being hit by a police baton.
Police spies lived with peaceful environmental activists, had sex with them and even fathered children under false names.

And you knoe, this isn't the only way in which the police can be shit. They can take ages to come round when you've been burgled. Or they can decide that a good use of their time is fining people for cycling on Queen Street in Oxford, even though this is a road that busses are allowed to drive along. Busses are fine but bikes are dangerous apparently.

I don't want to throw myself into the 'all cops are bastards' camp, but it's obvious that policing in this country is far from perfect.

Regardless of how much difference you think these candidates will make, these elections amount to us being offered the chance to choose the one we think will be the best.

Or alternatively, this is an opportunity for you to go vote against the coalition government. It might not really have any actual effects at Westminster, but if everyone goes out and votes for 'not the conservative', just imagine the message this will send out.

I can't be arsed to list all the ways in which I think the current government is totally shit, but basically almost every single policy announcement of the past two years can be filed under either 'totally shortsighted' or 'totally evil'.

So basically, let's all go out and vote for the Labour candidate as a protest against the tories.

And even if you're an awful right-winger, why not put UKIP first and conservatives as your second choice? It's not as if there's much danger of UKIP winning which means your beloved soldier, aviator, explorer is just as likely to win, but it will at least rattle the government's cages.

So there you go. Go out and vote.

Oh and if you want to read more about the candidates in the Thames Valley area (or elsewhere), have a look here.


  1. You've forgotten to mention the other independent candidate, Geoff Howard. His profile says:

    I see my main role as being THE VOICE OF THE PEOPLE, i.e. the link between people in the community and their local police ... I will make myself ACCOUNTABLE TO THE PUBLIC AT ALL TIMES. (see www.choosemypcc.org.uk/candidates/geoff-howard/)

    This is a rather unconvincing claim when the only contact information he gives is a postal address - no email, website, facebook, twitter, or any other up-to-date communication channel.

    1. Ah, the website I was looking at mentioned him by name but had nothing written in his section - for a job that's paying something like 80k he's running rather a half-arsedCampaign I'd say.

  2. You and me both.

    Here's another for you. The video of the Aylesbury hustings is http://www.buckscc.public-i.tv/core/portal/webcast_interactive/89810

    When Conservative candidate Anthony Stansfeld gets up to speak at 1:27:16 he starts "I of course have heard all the other candidates so I've been sitting outside for most of the time reading about the churches of Buckinghamshire". He fails to add "and obviously none of you plebs in the audience would have had any useful or interesting questions to ask either".

    1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s7DqwRKqyMk


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