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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Politics and the law

According to today's Guardian the Tories are in a bit of trouble over the badly-thought through plans to create elected police commissioners.

Some might say that they have been watching too many Batman films (yes, I know Commissioner Gordon wasn't elected) but for the Association of Chief Police Officers it is a bit more serious than that. They believe that the Tory proposals will damage the fight against crime and cause resignations from the service.

The incoming president of the Association of Chief Police Officers, Sir Hugh Orde has warned that some of his members will quit because they believe the plans represent political interference.

Labour have already dropped plans for direct elections to Police Authorities because of the fear of extremists winning the elections. The Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Chris Huhne is also sceptical. He is quoted as saying: "Sir Hugh Orde was right to highlight the dangers of the Conservatives' plans to politicise the control of the police.

"The last thing British police need is an elected sheriff leading the shootout at the OK Corral. Accountability must come from a broad-based police authority elected to represent all strands of the local community."

There is already an element of local accountability through the role of police authorities of course and the Home Secretary is answerable to Parliament for his job in overseeing the Police. I would argue that there is a case for devolving more powers over justice and the police to the Welsh Assembly Government but apart from that the general principle that needs to be applied in my view is: 'if it ain't broke don't try and fix it.'
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