Lib Dems get police commissioner elections delayed

Via the BBC:

The Lib Dems urged elections for police commissioners to be delayed partly to help the electoral prospects of their local councillors, the BBC understands.

The elections were due to take place on 3 May 2012, the same day as council polls across England and Wales, but are set to be put back until November.

A senior Lib Dem spokesman told BBC News their councillors wanted to “depoliticise” the vote.

Labour, which is against elected police chiefs, claims the move will cost £25m.

The issue was the subject of a spat at Prime Minister’s Questions, with opposition leader Ed Miliband saying the government had its priorities wrong while Prime Minister David Cameron said it would make the police more accountable…

A Lib Dem spokesman told the BBC’s Political Correspondent Ben Geoghegan part of the reason for the delay to the elections date was pressure from party councillors facing re-election next Spring.

“Our key aims were to de-politicise this as much as possible,” the party spokesman said. “If we have to accept it, we are going to make sure we do in in the most appropriate way.”

Our correspondent said councillors were worried there would be too much focus on law and order in the local elections if they were held on the same day as police polls.

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  • David Parkes 8th Sep '11 - 10:13pm

    Frankly sounds like fair comment, who wants politicised policing?

  • Daniel Henry 8th Sep '11 - 10:57pm

    I’m with Greg – this could be bad for us politically.

  • Grammar Police 9th Sep '11 - 8:13am

    Given this was actually “news” two days ago ( why are the BBC reporting it now . . . and with such an obvious anti-Lib Dem spin!

  • I reckon it’s the right choice. In fact, actually, much as I hate to say it, I think the Labour position is the right choice – there’ll be polticised policing inherently by creating these posts. Still, the LD shift of the election dates at least helps out a bit.

  • Richard Huzzey 9th Sep '11 - 11:50am

    It would be honourable to make the independence of police implementation of government policy a “red line”, by opposing elected commissioners. It is wholly dishonourable to let the measure through and then gerrymander the timing for partisan advantage.

  • @Richard Huzzey
    Why would opposing elected commissioners be honourable?

  • Richard Huzzey 9th Sep '11 - 1:04pm

    My point is that you should decide whether this is a good thing or not for British democracy and then follow your convictions. If it is a good idea (which some reasonable people argue), then there is no reason to delay the elections for self-confessed party advantage. If it is a bad idea (as I would say), then we should oppose it. Coalition involves compromise, but it seems odd to compromise over important structural changes to our constutution and then flee in the short term from the long-term implications of this move on the quality of public debate.

  • @Richard Huzzey
    Sorry – I understand what you mean now!! I think I’ve got my dozy head on today

  • Old Codger Chris 9th Sep '11 - 7:10pm

    If the Party’s key aims are to de-politicise the process how come they’ve invited PPCs to apply for selection as Lib Dem candidates for these posts? I accept that this stupid bill is in the coalition agreement but the party could say it will not endorse any candidates since the post should be non-political. This would resonate more with the voters than putting up Lib Dem candidates who are – in any case – most unlikely to get many votes.

    We can all see that the “tough” policing which so many people support (until it’s inflicted on them, as in the pro-hunting demos which pitted country dwellers against the Met Police) is percieved as a good issue for the Tory Party, which is the sole reason for this legislation.

    Here’s how to make policing worse – put it under party political control in the way that has been so successful (not) for the education system and the NHS. It’s downright sinister in the case of the police who are sometimes enlisted to keep the peace in politically contentious situations. Cosying up to politicians is much worse than cosying up to media proprietors.

    When the time comes to cast my vote I will think very carefully before opting for any candidate with a party label.

  • Stuart Mitchell 9th Sep '11 - 7:39pm

    Whether the main parties put up candidates or not, the fact is that this scheme will politicise the police in a way that can only lead to trouble.

    It’s not often I agree wholeheartedly with Shami Chakrabarti but she’s called this one completely right.

    The police should serve (and be seen to serve) all sections of the community equally. Once the elected commissioners are in place, people who did not vote for them will inevitably feel that the police is less representative of them than it is of other people. In areas where there are deep divisions between different parts of the community, the potential for catastrophe ought to be obvious to anybody.

    I loathe the idea of elected commissioners at all, but if we really must have them then I’d actually prefer to see the main parties putting up candidates rather than leaving the entire field wide open for every kind of crackpot and extremist. The whole thing is a nightmare.

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