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Saturday, 19 April 2014

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Don’t waste your vote if you care about crime

JUST a few more days folks, you can cut the atmosphere with a knife, the excitement is building, the whole of Cumbria is gripped, can you feel it?

EM Darren McSweeney
Darren McSweeney

Last week all eyes were on the US of A and whether they would back Barack, people here in the distant ancestral home of Mitt Romney stayed up all night to watch who would emerge victorious.

This week we get our turn at the ballot box, but will people be holding their breath for the result? Will they even vote?

In case the blaze of publicity, OK, maybe not a blaze, more of a smoulder, has passed you by, the country goes to the polls on Thursday.

You’ve put your voting card somewhere safe ready? You’ve chosen your candidate?

What? I hear many of you ask. An election already? Don’t get too excited, you haven’t got a chance here to tell the coalition what you think, you’ve got another three years before that one comes around.

This time, we are electing a PCC. No, not the Press Complaints Commission, this is a completely different three letter acronym (or TLA), an impressive sounding “Police and Crime Commissioner”.

In what has possibly been the worst communicated change to the way our police forces operate since Robert Peel set his first foot forward on to the beat, we get to choose who heads up the Cumbrian force.

This new commissioner will replace the authority that currently oversees running of our police force, set budget limits, “hire and fire Chief Constables” and pocket the £64k salary in return.

All four candidates were in Barrow for a public debate last Tuesday – around 80 people turned up to quiz them, which, considering this was the only public meeting of the four in the south of the county is a little bit worrying.

I’ve spoken to people who don’t know anything about it, others who don’t understand anything about it and a larger group of people who simply couldn’t care less.

So we have two problems – a disastrous PR exercise from the government to engage or inform the public and a bad case of voter apathy.

With crime levels being a popular topic among UK voters, the country seems to have gone colder than I can remember over an election here.

If you are bothered about crime and policing, use your vote, you’ve got a few days left to choose your candidate – I’ll declare my own purdah here and refrain from recommending any particular candidate, there’s one from each of the main parties and an independent, so somebody for everyone, take your pick!

Have your say

This will bring politics into the heart of the police. Just look at the candidates they are already following party lines with the Tory candidate blaming labour for the economy and scale of cuts. If one MP can't represent the many diverse communities in Cumbria then how can one PCC.
Also the members of the police authorities will in the most part form the Crime and Disorder Panels which will scrutinise the PCC. So all that changes is that we spend more money and introduce another layer of politicians.

Posted by Observer on 13 November 2012 at 12:38

Crime levels... a popular topic among UK voters... I call twaddle Mr McSweeney. Rather crime is assumed to be a popular topic by political types which is rather odd as these commissars, sorry commissioners, are supposed to be 'party bias free'. Clearly there is a lot of pork pie consumed in political circles.

Posted by Tony on 12 November 2012 at 17:43

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