English Party warms to Lib Dem candidates in Police & Crime Commissioner elections

The original moves in the party to pass up (mostly) on fighting Police & Crime Commissioner (PCC) elections generated heated debate and many local parties have made use of their say in the process to push for the party to fight the election in their area. As a result, a steady trickle of adverts have been appearing as selection processes start for many of the Commissioner posts.

In his report to the forthcoming English Council, English Party chair Peter Ellis has confirmed the party’s official warming to the idea of fighting the elections:

With the introduction of the mayoral and PCC elections in November this year, it is important that these elections are used wherever possible to support the campaigns for May of 2013.

* Mark Pack is Party President and Co-leader of the party. He is editor of Liberal Democrat Newswire.

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This entry was posted in Party policy and internal matters.


  • Liberal Neil 20th Jun '12 - 11:13am

    The English Party has got this completely wrong to date. And, as Antony says, requiring Regional Parties to spend thousands of punds we can’t afford on pointless postal ballots is ridiculous.

  • Antony Hook Antony Hook 20th Jun '12 - 2:19pm

    If we must have all-member ballots then it would help if we didn’t have RON.

    That would mean that where only one candidate applies and gets through approval and shortlisting they could be selected unopposed (without an expensive ballot). This is what Labour have done.

    I can see the point of RON as a safety mechanism in many elections but is it necessary where there is a comprehensive approval and short-liting system?

  • Tony Dawson 20th Jun '12 - 7:36pm

    I do not recall the national Party ever being against these elections. They simply said they wouldnot support them financially in any way. Very sensible. That is also the position of several Local Parties.

  • People could complain about this at English Council on Sat.

    However the alternative to an all member ballot is to have a vote at a hustings meeting – which requires writing to every member to invite them so the alternative is cost free. Does RON have to be a candidate in all sitautions – IIRC that isn’t the case in PPC selections.

  • @Tony – the Federal party said that a Liberal Democrat candidate should only be selected where it had been established that there was no suitable independent candidate to endorse. IE it was a condition which had to be satisfied before picking a Lib Dem.

  • Richard Dean 20th Jun '12 - 11:19pm

    As an independent, I would be happy to be endorsed by the party. But it just seems so peculiar that a party that is so keen on democracy should choose not to take part in a new aspect of the democratic process. In essence it brings into question the credibility of the party, particularly because crime and policing is a huge issue for electorates.

  • Richard, the objection has, as I understand it, been the direct politicisation of the police by popular election of an individual in the direct line management of policing. This, as distinct from a management committee or board to whom the Chief Constable will report, allowing him or her control of ongoing policing decisions.

    Hywel, as I remember RON is only invoked in PPC selections when a shortlist cannot be made up to 3 or more, with adequate gender balance.

  • Richard Dean 20th Jun '12 - 11:53pm

    @Tim13. So we give up and let the bad guys take control?

  • I remain of the view that we are sleepwalking to a half-hearted campaign which will motivate nobody and is more likely to hinder chances in 2013 rather than help them.

    We don’t believe in these posts; the public can’t see the point of them and they will probably get canned within a few years. I estimate overall turnout of around 20% with some places seeing it below 10%. Why not put ourselves on the populist side of the argument and just boycott them.

    Richard Dean – the “bad guys” (if we regard Labour and Conservative grandees looking for a sinecure in that way) will win anyway. Better to undermine the legitimacy of the elections….which is pushing a wide open door.

  • Richard Dean 21st Jun '12 - 4:46pm

    Yes, the party certainly looks like it’s asleep on this one. The roles of the PCC’s, as described on the Home Office website (http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/police/police-crime-commissioners/), include

    to be the voice of the people and hold the police to account
    ensure community needs are met as effectively as possible,
    improve local relationships through building confidence and restoring trust.
    ensure there is a unified approach to preventing and reducing crime

    Of course the role will be what the role holders make it, so people who don’t care obviously won’t make it a success. But any party who thinks electorates aren’t interested is surely sleepwalking into oblivion!

  • Richard, what I have been trying to hint to you, is that some things are better discussed on the Members’ Forum. Normally I try to be and I like to be, as open as possible….

  • Richard Boyd 21st Jun '12 - 7:40pm

    I do not know how many LD’s actually served on a police committee or authority and how many chaired one?
    I do not know how we view Mayor Boris’s winger ( unelected police commissioner for London, and Boris’s
    glove puppet) deciding that the Met Police Commissioner should not attend a meeting of the scrutiny committee
    which he does not actually chair? I do not know what an elector can do if theydo not agree with the concept of a
    commissioner ( abstain or not attend and join the 60% who do not give a toss )? I am just a former Police Committee chairman and 30 year time served LD councillor who views this whole process with alarm,
    We, in Essex will be offered the following choice:
    Tory nominee, retired Naval Officer, whose Dad was a copper.
    Labour, ex councillor who has never been involved, to my knowledge, in any Essex Police issue
    Independent, retired divisional police commander, who has no actual, to my knowledge, experience with
    public non-police activity.
    LD, TBA.
    Abstain, stay at home, grumble and join the “cannot be bothered” party non-voters.

    Any ideas of what someone like me should do, who fundamentally disagrees with the whole concept?

    Keep the answers clean please,

    Richard Boyd OBE DL
    a Yesterday’s Man,

  • Richard Dean 21st Jun '12 - 7:59pm

    @Richard Boyd. Yes. Stand as a candidate. Sounds like you’d do the job well.

  • Richard Dean 21st Jun '12 - 8:27pm

    I wonder if the real reason for LibDem reluctance to get involved is that the job is actually going to be a tough one? If PCC’s are “the voice of the people”, then it’s them who are going to get shafted whenever anything at all goes wrong. The Essex candidates look on the face of it to be pretty useless,let’s hope an LD or independent steps forward with some credibilty and skills.

    As I recall, we had riots last summer. I watched them on Spanish TV. The police shot a young man in Tottenham. Absolutely noone in any kind of authority or supporting role attended the march – I seem to remember the local MP was elsewhere, the PM and DPM were both out of country (what a dereliction – defeating the whole point of having a DPM!), and Boris was in deepest Canada 3 days away from an airport. The country was leaderless and the people were unrepresented, so the riots spread.

    That whole episode seems to demonstrate a big disconnect between communities, police, and politicians, and it’s the fault of the latter. The present arrangement of committees seems to have failed dramatically, and one of the important and very difficult tasks PCC’s will have is to fix this.

  • I cannot stand the concept of this role and have some sympathy with the suggestions of ignoring the elections. However, I have a fear of “hang ’em, flog ’em” Tories (or UKIP) up and down the land having an impact on our policing. Lib Dems are facing a tough ask at the ballot box for all sorts of reasons not linked to policing, some self inflicted others not so much. Which makes the question, does the party need the spectre of another list of third (or worse) place results?

    It may be that we are left with a choice between left wing authoritarian and right wing authoritarian options…

  • Richard Dean 21st Jun '12 - 8:58pm

    And those authoritarians will make sure everyone knows that the LibDems cared so little they didn’t even try!

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