Tag Archives: elected police commissioners

Opinion: The Lib Dem leadership’s attitude to the Police Commissioner elections is baffling!

“Liberal Democrats – soft on crime” was the headline that has often screamed off Labour leaflets over the last decade. Indeed, in the latter stages of the 2010 General Election, Labour strategists used that message to squeeze the Liberal Democrat vote when we were on 29%.

Looking at the partial, last-minute collapse in our vote, it’s difficult to argue that this line of attack didn’t work. The ‘soft on crime’ attack was used against us in the Oldham East and Saddleworth By-election. Labour’s Christmas Card to constituents in Oldham even featured a snowman with a police …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 30 Comments

Opinion: What next for elected Police Commissioners?

In 1951, the Liberal Party fielded just 109 parliamentary candidates. 1959 was better with 216. And in 1979, shortly before the foundation of the SDP, we were fielding 577 – virtually a candidate in every seat.

Most of us have grown up in a political landscape in which our party attempts to field a full slate, at all levels. In the darkest days after the merger, in first-past-the-post European elections cynically rigged against us, we fielded candidates throughout Great Britain even though we knew we would likely win no seats at all. Indeed, I still remember my excitement at the prospect …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 17 Comments

Opinion: The Liberal Democrats should contest Police Commissioner elections

Ask many people what they think of the Lib Dems’ approach to law and order, and you’ll be told – erroneously – that we’re a soft touch. Our approach, traditionally evidence-based and less punitive than the populist authoritarian policies of Labour and the Tories, takes longer to explain. When we fail to do so, we risk being seen as the party that panders to criminals.

Of course, that isn’t the case. We believe in policy that actually works to reduce crime and recidivism, using all possible means to rehabilitate those who resort to illegality, while reiterating the importance of the …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 19 Comments

Liberal Democrats decide to pass up on fighting Police Commissioner elections (mostly)

The Liberal Democrat Federal Executive (FE) decided this week that the federal party will not be providing any financial backing to Liberal Democrats wishing to stand for election as Police Commissioners. The expectation is that instead the party will end up backing independent candidates, although it has been made clear that local areas can decide to field candidates if they wish to – albeit without any financial backing from the central party.

The strong preference given, however, is for Liberal Democrats to back independent candidates. As FE chair and Party President Tim Farron wrote to regional parties:

Posted in News, Party policy and internal matters and Selection news | Also tagged , and | 35 Comments

Should the Liberal Democrats contest police commissioner elections?

Lib Dem Voice has polled our members-only forum to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. Some 550 party members responded, and we’re currently publishing the full results.

Yes is the answer according to the latest Liberal Democrat Voice survey of party members:

Support: 57%
Oppose: 24%
Net: 33% in favour

The party has been putting in place the necessary procedures to fight these elections, such as making decision over candidate selection rules. However many influential voices have also been raised against the party putting up candidates and with the delay in the

Posted in News | Also tagged | 6 Comments

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

Posted in News | Also tagged | 12 Comments

PMQs: Nadine Dorries leaves the PM speechless

Posted in News and PMQs | Also tagged , , , , , , and | 8 Comments

Cross-party smackdown for Home Secretary

A tweet crosses my desk from Cllr Kemp, itself a retweet from LGCPlus journalist Ruth Keeling. It contains a link to the Association of Police Authorities – not a body I am overly familiar with, but it has a fairly self-explanatory title.

The link is directly to a fairly draw-dropping cross-party letter from chairs of Police Authorities around the country who have a fairly serious beef with the Home Secretary’s accuracy in a recent speech.

Theresa May appears to have tried to shore up support for the Conservative policy of elected police commissioners by insinuating that in London, taxpayers got a better service from the elected police chief (and Mayor) Boris Johnson, than in other parts of the country where there are indirectly elected Chairs of Police Authorities instead.

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , , , , and | 3 Comments

Opinion: Tottenham points to wider policing problems

The last couple of evening riots in London, starting in Tottenham and working their way across the capital, seemingly sparing no town in its wake has left us in shock. People are being injured, the police and innocent bystanders as well as the rioters and looters. Again and again though, the question that people keep asking is “What’s going on?”

They are right to ask. Unfortunately, the riots have occurred while a high number of our leading politicians are out of the country. David Cameron, George Osborne, Boris Johnson, Nick Clegg, they all could have spoken with authority on the …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 16 Comments

Chris White writes: Police Commissioners – the descent into low farce

News today that the Tories may not even field candidates for their cherished police commissioner posts, but instead are ‘considering instead whether to put … support behind other contenders, such as prominent and distinguished local individuals’ shows that this awesomely bad policy is starting to founder.

Meanwhile Labour are having similar doubts and, as discussed elsewhere on Lib Dem Voice, our own Party is hardly racing towards a sensible selection process.

The problem, of course, is not just that the legislation is not finalised but that the elections will be hideously expensive, covering in some cases several county areas: …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 16 Comments

Chris White writes: Is it possible to change Coalition policy?

Is it possible to change Coalition policy? Council leaders certainly hope so if the letter to today’s Times is to be believed. Over a hundred have supported – and no doubt many more councillors, deputies, backbenchers and the like might have done so had there been more time to hone the message and gather support.

The issue should be core to the localist agenda – although we need to be rather clearer about what we really want.

Not so long ago the police were governed (at least in non-operational terms) by the police committees of county councils. There was not much …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 2 Comments

Tom Brake MP writes: Sir Paul Stephenson’s resignation

Tom Brake MP is Lib Dem Home Affairs, Justice and Equalities Co-Chair.

A friend texted me over the weekend, after the news of Sir Paul Stephenson’s resignation, saying ‘What next?’. I texted back, ‘The Queen abdicates?’.

Revelations about phone-hacking and the Metropolitan police have been coming so thick and fast over the last couple of weeks that nobody would bat an eyelid (all right, I exaggerate slightly) if Her Majesty revealed a previously unknown Met and NOTW connection.

Sir Paul’s departure is just the latest extraordinary development in the phone-hacking saga.

Even though he was widely recognised as an outstanding commissioner who …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , and | 2 Comments

Chris White writes: Approving Police Commissioner candidates

Readers of LDV will have noticed that there is an announcement about Police Commissioner candidates – presumably placed by the English Party.

Of course, none of us want these elections (and most councillors in other parties don’t either) but it’s in the Coalition agreement and so we are to an extent stuck with a particularly silly bit of the Tory manifesto. Such, I guess, is the nature of Coalitions.

What is troubling, however, is the fact that the English Party has decided to play the centralist card: candidates need in essence to be approved like parliamentary candidates.

One of the main …

Posted in Op-eds and Party policy and internal matters | Also tagged , and | 14 Comments

Police and Crime Commissioners: Lib Dem candidates start here

The Liberal Democrats are inviting potential candidates for the new Police and Crime Commissioner posts, which, if the legislation is passed, are expected to be elected in May 2012.

The party wants to encourage the widest possible range of applicants so the membership can select from the best possible choice of candidates.

So if you’re interested in applying, you need to be an approved Parliamentary candidate:

The Bill to create directly elected Police and Crime Commissioners is currently before Parliament. The first elections of Police and Crime Commissioners are expected in May 2012.

The English Regional Parties will be inviting applications to be candidates

Posted in Party policy and internal matters and Selection news | Also tagged and | 19 Comments

Elected Police Commissioners: how the elections would work

The publication this week of the Police Reform And Social Responsibility Bill provided, amongst other matters, details of how the planned elections for Police Commissioners (or, strictly speaking, Police and Crime Commissioners) would be conducted.

The overall plan is to treat them like local elections, with the same electorate and the same polling day in May. However, the Bill also applies the ‘standard’ election system for existing directly elected executive posts to Police Commissioners, namely the supplementary vote.

This is likely to be controversial, both because the supplementary vote is very unpopular with many Liberal Democrats and also because the …

Posted in Election law and News | Also tagged , , and | 13 Comments

Police Commissioners set to be elected by preferential voting

A detail from the government’s current consultation on introducing elected police commissioners:

Commissioners will have a set four yearterm of office and term limits of two terms. The Government intends to apply the existing framework for the conduct of local government andParliamentary elections including the recognised eligibility criteria for standing for public office, in preparing for the first set of elections in May 2012. We are considering the appropriate voting system, and believe that a preferential voting system is the right option. (Source: section 2.12 in Policing in the 21st Century: Reconnecting police and the people)

I very much doubt whether this choice …

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 1 Comment

LibLink: Cllr Richard Kemp on the Lib Dem Local Government conference

Lib Dem councillors had their annual conference this week within the confines of Local Government House in Smith Square, London. Co-hosted by ALDC and the Lib Dem LGA group, the conference pulls together colleagues from across the country with our parliamentary team. This year, of course, our parliamentary colleagues have joined many thousands of Lib Dem councillors in actually being in charge of running things. Normally our councillors are more experienced at holding the reins of power than our MPs.

Cllr Richard Kemp has written a review for Total Politics:

Nick pulled no punches in telling us how difficult the decisions

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged , , , , and | 1 Comment
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