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Thursday, May 12, 2011

Liberal Democrat Peers defeat Government

I entirely approve of the defeat that was inflicted on the Government by the House of Lords yesterday, when peers voted through a Liberal Democrat amendment to reject plans for elected police commissioners by 188 votes to 176.

The amendment to the Police and Social Responsibility Bill was tabled by Baroness Harris of Richmond, who warned that electing police chiefs could do "irreparable damage".

If this amendment sticks then it will help resolve the UK Government's little difficulty with the Welsh Assembly. AMs also voted to reject the idea of police commissioners and refused to give the UK Government permission to amend devolved areas to accomodate them.

The Government was going to press on anyway. Let us hope that they now have a rethink.
I entirely agree with the Lords vote - politics should be kept away from the police, and any form of election would have the effect of an even more reactionary ethos within the police force.

Given this, isn't it a contradition that the Lib Dems support the idea of elected police authorities? (I am a Lib Dem member, by the way)
No there needs to be demoratic accountability at a local level but concentrating all that into the hands of one individual reduces transparency and accountability.
I can't understand why our negotiators accepted elected police commissioners as part of the coalition agreement, given that party policy and local government association opinion were against.
I think Federal Conference voted for directly elected Police Authorities despite opposition from local government. So, i suppose the negotiators thought it was a logical step forward.
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