I recently wrote and article for Policing Insight on a range of issues that Chief Constables, OPCC Chief Executives and PCCs will need to address as the elections in May next year get closer.
You can read the article (for free!) here. Here is how it starts:
The PCC elections in May 2016 will be the first with incumbents, some (or many) of whom may seek re-election. This article identifies many as-yet-unanswered questions about PCC election purdah, together representing a potential minefield for forces, OPCCs and others to navigate.
May 2016 will see the first PCC Elections with incumbents in position. In other words it will be the first time that Police services will have to operate during a period of purdah…
So what are the implications of this to Chief Officers, the CEOs of OPCCs & other staff, and police officers & staff… let alone the incumbent PCCs themselves, whether or not they are seeking re-election? I am assuming that something of a fusion of the Home Office, the APCC, the NPCC, the HMIC & the...
Policing Insight have just published my article on what next for Police & Crime Commissioners beginning:
Jon Harvey discusses several possible models for development of Police and Crime Commissioners and makes suggestions for improving voter engagement in the run up to the May 2016 elections.
Almost any other parliamentary result on May 7th would probably have seen PCCs consigned to history. As it is, it seems likely that there will now be a second PCC election in May next year, at the same time as some local council elections and potentially, the EU referendum. So already, it is likely that a greater percentage of people will vote in the second elections. Maybe...
You can read the rest of the article here (and join in subscribing to Policing Insight: Policing Insight is published by CoPaCC, an independent organisation established shortly after the first Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) elections in November 2012 to monitor policing governance in England and Wales.)
As you might expect, I have very deep misgivings about abandoning our foundational involvement in the European Convention on Human Rights (which we led the formation of, back in the 1950s). Nonetheless, our government has been elected to fulfil its promise to:
scrap the Human Rights Act and curtail the role of the European Court of Human Rights, so that foreign criminals can be more easily deported from Britain. (Conservative Manifesto 2015)
I am not going to go into the arguments for and against this proposal, there are people far more qualified than me to put those arguments forward (such as Liberty and Amnesty International)
But... remember when the Human Rights Act came in and every police officer and staff member went through training on it? As did people involved in mental health services, prison & probation services, social services etc etc etc....
So if a new 'British Bill of Rights' is established: how much is it going to cost to bring everyone up to speed on it? Are all public service officials going to be...
I know, it has been more or less radio silence on these pages for a few months. I have been pursuing other ventures involving local politics and such like. The issue of policing & justice, of course, while not much mentioned during the general election, is never far from anyone's minds... With a 'continuity' Home Secretary at the helm, we can expect more of the same, it would appear.
Although, her reception at the Police Federation conference was a little less frosty than last year: a little chilly or even chilling perhaps but no longer Siberian (even if that is where Theresa May might like to send some police officer representatives..!)
There was very little in the Conservative Manifesto to really understand the drift of government policy in the realm of policing, community safety and criminal justice. I guess we are going to have to wait for a green paper or two.
The Home Secretary's speech to the Fed conference can be found in full here. She said (among other matters):
That’s why today I am announcing two things to further free up...
In my neck of the woods, the local two tier councils are sharpening sticks in preparation of a battle royale over unitary government. I won't bore you with the details but I will say I don't know what will work best for my county in the future. I do not have enough of the facts to come to any kind of solid view as to whether the Berkshire model (county council fell on its own sword to create six unitary councils) or the Cornwall model (districts were subsumed into one council for the whole of the county) or variations on those themes would be best for local people.
However what I do know is that it won't be easy.
Setting aside the internecine struggles between various Tory factions in the county, what will make any reorganisation 'challenging' will be the legacy commercial contracts currently held by the various councils.
Do you remember how once upon a time, creating a contract culture was seen as a way of introducing agility and innovation into public service delivery? You know... rather than those awful...
The Government is keen for you to believe that crime is going down and therefore reductions in police funding will not matter to your safety and health. According to the ONS, as measured by the Crime Survey of England & Wales, crime is going down:
Latest figures from the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) show that, for the offences it covers, there were an estimated 7.1 million incidents of crime against households and resident adults (aged 16 and over) in England and Wales for the year ending June 2014. This represents a 16% decrease compared with the previous year’s survey, and is the lowest estimate since the survey began in 1981.
But is it?
Think about it for a moment: when was the last time someone tried to rob you..? Well it happened to me on Saturday:
Good Morning to you , We hope all is well with you and every member of your family. Please, my name is Mrs Gaba from Togo and i work with a branch of Western Union Money Transfer office here in Togo and we wish to notify you that some amount of money is deposited in...
One of the objections to the Police & Crime Commissioner model of policing governance, often used by those working inside the service, is that it would and has 'politicised' the police. Whilst regular readers of this blog will know, I look forward to PCCs being replaced by a better system, they are not responsible for bringing politics into policing. Perhaps one of the clearest examples of that was during the miners strike in 1984.
One of the Cabinet documents was a record of a meeting the then Prime Minister held in Downing street on 15 September 1983. It states absolutely clearly that Mr MacGregor, the chairman of the NCB, “had it in mind over the three years 1983-85 that a further 75 pits would be closed”. The final paragraph of the document reads: “It was agreed that no record of this meeting should be circulated.” What a surprise. We know that significant pressure was placed on the Home Secretary to step up police measures against striking miners to...
Column, tweet and blog kilometres have already been written about the cowardly murder of journalists in Paris yesterday.
Charlie Hebdo publishes satirical pieces about politics, religion and a lot more besides. It dares to poke fun at the pompous, the righteous and the unutterably certain, using cartoons, jokes, humourous pieces etc. It is serious without being serious. Amongst the people killed yesterday were some of the journal's finest cartoonists.
We need books that affect us like a disaster, that grieve us deeply, like the death of someone we loved more than ourselves, like being banished into forests far from everyone, like a suicide. A book must be an axe for the frozen sea inside us. (FK)
Meanwhile, I got to wondering, if UKIP can be so cavalier about their domain name, what other domains could they just happen to lose if they were in government? Gibraltar? Wales? The Isle of Wight? Pimlico?
So I went onto the #Whois website which lists who owns what IRLs and looked up UKIP.org Interestingly, the first time I looked, it was still saying it was up for sale:
I actually don't mind paying taxes. There I have said it. I am not wild about shelling out money for anything but I regard tax as the price I pay for living in a fair, safe and decent country. Parks, police officers and pot holes all have to paid for. Without these basic public services, we would all be far poorer: a replacement car wheel is one heck of a lot more expensive than a small rise in council tax, for example.
Most people, I believe, know this and whilst we all grumble about tax, it is one of the two facts of life (the other being famously 'death'). There are some extremists who want to roll back the clock to the 1930s (or even further) and have a society where only the wealthy can feel a modicum of ease. These are the neo-liberals who want to either privatise or stop altogether essential public services. You know who you are.
But you may wonder why I am writing this blog this morning? Last night I got involved in one of these type of twitter debates:
Without rehashing the whole debate, I rashly tweeted a small red rag...