Crisis? Wot Crisis?

I am no Economist. Domestic or International, I am not your man.

However, I do like to think that  I can recognise a crisis when I  see one.

The Police Service is most definitely an organisation in crisis.  Leaves have been cancelled, and by that I mean that PC Jones has been  told that he/she cannot go on holiday with his/her family this summer.  I have heard from several sources that Cressida Dick has informed her officers in London exactly  that.  Unprecedented.

This in addition to normal Leave Days in mid-week and weekends have been cancelled.  On top of this officers are regularly working 12-16 hour shifts. Not the greatest of ideas if those officers happen to be driving  high performance cars at speed  through our streets.  The current policy of single  crewing means they don’t have the option to share the driving duties with their partner cos they don’t have a partner any more.

Do we really need physically and emotionally exhausted firearms officers on extended tours of duty.The?

I fully accept that Theresa May and her government could  not reasonably have foreseen the dire times we find ourselves in, but they should have anticipated  that something would happen in the future.  I was always told “you don’t get paid for what you do, you get paid for what you might have to do”.  Following that principle we should always maintain a Police Service that is robust and resilient enough to deal with anything such as we have seen  recently.

The reason that we are in this situation is easy to see.   THERESA MAY

It was Theresa May who went ahead with the draconian cuts and all words of warning re  the consequences were met with “stop ctying wolf” “it”s not all about the numbers” accompanied by a total refusal to listen.  Well it is all about the numbers.  Some things simply need numbers to achieve, like dealing with several  major incidents at the same time.

The NHS is also in crisis, brought about by Cameron and Hunt, and continued  by May and Hunt.

The Fire and Rescue Service are also in crisis , budgets slashed , Fire Stations closed and sold off, Fire Engines mothballed or sold off.

The Armed Forces are at their lowest levels since WW2, a level that most people are uncomfortable with I’m sure.

I have just heard that the Police Funding Formula has been scrapped. Good news for the larger Forces like the Met, but not for the smaller and rural Forces .  Don’t just scrap the Funding Formula as s knee-jerk panacea,  do a complete U Turn and restore the appropriate numbers to our Police, NHS, Fire Service and Armed Forces.

Quite simply, find the money from somewhere and reverse your draconian and disastrous cuts. Start listening to those who actually know and can advise you properly of the consequences.

The Continuing Faux Pas Of Theresa May

I wrote some time ago about the failings of Theresa May, but she obviously didn’t get my memo. Nothing seems to have improved, and may even have got worse.  I even managed to find enough material for a sequel.

Since she won the raffle and effectively became leader of the Conservative Party, and thereby Prime Minister, unopposed, what has she achieved?

Since becoming Prime Minister she has continued her practice of not listening to practitioners, those in charge of policing, the NHS etc etc. What do they know? Crime is down, Police Reform is working still echoes along the corridors of Westminster, despite mounting evidence that both halves of her mantra are demonstrably untrue.

Since becoming PM she has made a whole host of new friends at Brussels, where she will be negotiating “HER  Brexit”

It is not HER Brexit by any means, it is OUR Brexit, the people of Great Britain.

This Strong and Stable leader of ours, not known for her love of U Turns, then commenced a series of U Turns.

  1.  Hinkley Point Power Station, despite her reservations, once she became Prime Minister, she gave the Go Ahead for Franco Chinese investment and building a new Power Station at Hinkley Point.
  2. Her promise to put workers on the boards of companies was much watered down in the Conservative Manisfesto.
  3. There isn’t going to be an early election – and then there was.
  4. Social Care – firstly payments were not going to be capped, and then they were, although she declined to elaborate at what level.

I’m sure there are several others, but you get the drift.

Throughout the recent election campaign she repeatedly uttered the mantras “Strong and Stable” and “Brexit means Brexit” until most ordinary folk were feeling quite billious.

So what have we seen since her disastrous election decision?

Failing to enter any TV debates.  I’m absolutely certain that was a faux pas, didn’t seem to do her any favours at all.

Having failed to achieve an outright majority in Parliament (her decision to have an election was such a good one that she actually lost several seats) she failed to do the honourable thing and resign, instead electing for a dubious relationship with the DUP.

Her two advisors during her election campaign have both fallen on their biros and resigned. Has Theresa May? No she has not.  She did not have to take their advice. She seemingly did not notice that their advice was flawed but followed it anyway.  Why should she deserve to remain in post?

There have been sevaeral Critical Incidents during her period as Prime Minister.  How has she reacted?  She has magnanimously thanked the Emergency Services for their skills, courage and professionalism.  Those same Emergency Services that has ruthlessly culled since 2010.  Does she think that we won’t notice?

Despite the ever-present risk of Terrorist attackes she has steadfastedly refused to deny reports that further cuts to Police Strength are planned for the next few years, maybe as many as 16,000 more cuts, including 4,000 in London alone.  Is that sensible in the current climate?  Is that Strong and Stable?

Following her ‘success’ in the recent election she has anounced that #Austerity is over.  No need for further cust then.

Her advisors who she was responsible for ‘losing’ are in line for a reported £35,000 payout, twice what they would normally be due at a time when Nurses are reportedly having to resort to using Food Banks and some Police Officers are on allegedly Benefits in an effort to feed their families.

Finally (I’m sure there are others though) she pitched up in West London at the scene of that awful, tragic fire and spoke with the Commissioner of the Fire and Rescue Service but apparently not with any survivors of the fire or local residents.  Did she visit any of the injured in hospital?  I don’t think so.

If we’re really lucky Mrs May will continue to provide me Faus Pas to write about for months to come, or maybe her days are numbered.  Who knows? “I got us into this mess I will get us out of it”

Maybe It’s All About The Numbers

When Theresa May was Home Secretary she famously said that it was not about the numbers of police but about the quality of the policing.  Despite a variety of attempts by government  I honestly believe that we still have some of the best Police Officers in the world.  I’m not sure how much longer that will  remain the case, but I honestly believe it at the moment. So quality of the officers shouldn’t really be an issue. Quality of the policing? Theoretically our finest are capable of, and willing to, perform policing of the highest order. That is actually what they want to do. Unfortunately reality does not always match up with potential, and in my view the main reason for that is SHORTAGE OF NUMBERS.

To reference one Jeremy Corbyn :-  it is not possible to police on the cheap, and I don’t only mean cheap, inferior kit, IT  and vehicles

However, after 7 years, a small number of Chief Constables are beginning to break cover and face up to the realities in their Forces.

In no particular order, in the past week or so, I have seen Shaun Sawyer, Chief Constable Devon and Cornwall, tweeting about the need for increased resources.

Despite initially claiming that she had sufficient resources, Cressida Dick, the new Commissioner of the Met, together with the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, is now admitting  that more resources are necessary.

The Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police has recently gone on record highlighting the dwindling number of officers in his Force, due to the cuts, and explaining how he actually needs more.


Merseyside Chief Constable, Andy Cooke, claims that his force is facing unprecedented challenge following the “draconian cuts

In his recent General Election campaign, Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn vowed to increase Police numbers by 10,000.

Lib Dem leader, Tim Farron, said police and security services were suffering from a lack of resources, rather than a lack of powers, during a BBC Question Time programme in which he was challenged over his party’s plans to roll back surveillance.

Four Chief Constables, two leading politicians and untold numbers of retired and former Police Officers telling, basically, the same story.  It most definitely IS about the numbers.  I am not naive enough to think that increased numbers are a universal panacea for all problems, but with increased numbers comes increased resilience, increased flexibilty, increased options, increased opportunities.  Corbyn was right. Policing can not be done on the cheap and it’s time that Theresa May, Amber Rudd and our brand new Policing Minister, Nick Hurd, realised that, chewed a parge portion of Humble Pie and put the situation right.  It will take years so the sooner they start the better.

Enough Is Enough

Since 2010 we have lost approx 20,000 Police Officers from our streets.





The point has  been (fairly) made that those numbers would not have prevented recent terrorist attacks.  This is true.  BUT those numbers give us hugely increased resilience and flexibility to deal with intelligence gathering, monitoring of suspects and dealing with the aftermath of an attack.  Those EXTRA officers I have heard about are not extra at all. They are officers who have had their leaves cancelled or brought in from other boroughs, leaving them depleted.

The majority of our front line officers are unarmed, traditionally so. However the world is changing. Maybe it’s time to turn our backs on tradition and arm all Response Officers? Fortunately that’s not my decision.

It’s time to end the folly known known as Single Crewing, or Single Manning.  All Response Vehicles should be Double Crewed (and Armed) in order to better deal with unexpected and fast-developing incidents such as London Bridge etc.

Chief Officers should stop trying to appease Theresa May and the Home Secretary. Policing is something that requires numbers in order to be done properly and effectively.  Making your officers work 16 hour shifts just to cover up the lack of numbers is despicable. The officers will burn out and the public are being hoodwinked. Just tell the TRUTH. I am a member of the public, and I would much rather be told the reality in my neighbourhood, or Force area, than be fobbed off with lies and illusions.

Theresa May is quite right, enough is enough. I have had enough of these savage cuts to Policing.  The problem is nowhere near as straightforward as Theresa May and her party would have us believe.  They will only ever tell us part of the story. Backfilling and Abstractions are dirty words for them.

Finally, it is appropriate to pay tribute to the Police Officers of London, the other Emergency Services, and assorted Members of the Public who all showed immense bravery last night.  Police Officers are hard-wired to run towards the danger and protect their community.  Theresa May might not like it, but Policing is NOT a job, it is still, just about, a vocation.  Like it or not, politicians cannot continue to treat them like footballs.

There IS a Crisis In Policing and it has been brought about by the policies and prejudices of David Cameron and Theresa May.  It is time for all the psycophants to stand up to her and get this crisis reversed.  It will take years to recruit and train the required number of officers, but you cannot Police on the cheap Mrs May.

Enough is Enough

The Government Has Most Definitely Forgotten

Not being subject to the rules of Purdah, I can have a moan.

The term ‘purdah’ is in use across central and local government to describe the period of time immediately before elections or referendums when specific restrictions on the activity of civil servants are in place. The terms ‘pre-election period’ and ‘period of sensitivity’ are also used.

Being neither politician nor Civil Servant **** you!!

What is it that the government has forgotten?

The first duty of any government is to protect the public.

How do they do this?

Well not by reducing the numbers of Police Officers available for duty at any one time that’s for sure.
The picture doesn’t look much better when you look at the TOTAL Police Workforce

Where are all these officers (or not)?

Sadl some areas are much better served proportionately than others, but ALL have seen a reduction in Policing levels.

Somewhere in the region of FIVE Polices have been culled since 2010.  What might that look like?

This is one I made earlier when there were only 17,000 fewer officers, you’ll have to imagine the rest.  Colour Avon and Somerset black also and you’re almost there.

this Is What 17,000 Fewer Cops LOOKS Like

Just imagine driving round the black area, not seeing a single PoliceOfficer and KNOWING THERE WERE NONE anyway.

In the background, relentlessly bubbling away, is a population constantly growing


So, THIS is how our government are complying with their first duty.  THIS is how we are being protected.  Or NOT

Crime Is Up, Police Reform Is Working?

Listen to any Tory politician at the moment and they’ve all got the mantra off pat “Crime is down, Police Reform is working”.

Is it? Let’s examine the evidence over the last few years.

This week has seen the release of the latest set of Crime Statistics (up to end of December 2016) by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and the Crime Survey of England and Wales (CSEW).  You will no doubt recall that with the discrediting of Police Recorded Crime figures these are the stats that the government like to quote.

Interestingly, and conveniently ignored by the government, the ONS figures are consistently HIGHER than than the discredited Recorded Crime figures.  So if they go up a bit, or come down a bit they are ALWAYS higher than the Police Recorded Crime equivalent.

And it didn’t take long following the release of the latest stats for our revered Policing Minister, Brandon Lewis, to jump in with both feet in a desperate bid to highlight the positives.

Part of the report stated

Comparable figures from the CSEW showed no statistically significant change compared with the previous year’s survey.

The best thing that Mr Lewis could trawl up in a vain attempt to counter that and keep the mantraalive was

Overall, according to Recorded Crime, crime is up by 9%

The police recorded a total of 4.8 million offences in the year ending December 2016, an annual rise of 9%. However, the large volume increases driving this trend are thought to reflect changes in recording processes and practices rather than crime.

Just how much longer can the ONS and the tired Tory party keep rolling out the “improved recording methods” excuse? In contrast to the ‘evil’ Police figures, CSEW declares in excess of 6 million crimes of all sorts, PLUS a further 5 million+ offences of fraud and cyber crime.

Almost all categories of crime recorded by CSEW/ONS are UP, but Brandon Lewis has this to say

Interestingly (to me at least) the ONS/CSEW data itemises crimes such as Theft of Bicycle but intriguingly does not have a seperate category for Knife Crime, strange that.  If it doesn’t get measured it can’t go up I guess.  They stopped recording that a couple of years agofor some reason.

So what is our response to this increase in crime?  Mrs May, when she was Home Secretary, instructed the Police to cut back on the use of one of the most valuable tools in their toolbox, Stop and Search.

Theresa May, the Home Secretary, has unveiled a series of measures which will scale back the way police can stop and search suspects.

Tougher thresholds will mean officers in England and Wales are able to use the most controversial form of stop and search powers much less frequently. Mrs May said use of stop and search had become an “unacceptable affront to justice”

Well let me tell you Mrs May, Stop and Search, used correctly and lawfully, is a valuable tool in the fight against weapons, drugs and property crime (theft, Going Equipped to Steal etc). The answer is NOT to cut back on its use but to ensure that it is applied CORRECTLY.

I have had a sneaky peep at the levels of crime over the past few years and the use of Stop and Search, and it looks like this


Surely it can be no coincidence that at a time when Stop and Search reduces nationally, crime starts to rise again?   The graph above was created using Police data, the CSEW figures suggest a small drop in the overall crime rate, but at a rate significantly higher than Police figures.  On that scale CSEW figures would be off the top of the chart.

Just in case you don’t think that the drop-off in Stop in Search is very dramatic, that is an illusion of the scale of the chart.

On its own, for a single force it looks more like this:-

Still think it’s not very dramatic?  They’re not all this dramatic, but they are all a similar shape.

It was 2014 when Mrs May decreed that there should a cutback in Stop and Search.  Look at the national graph above.  When did crime begin to increase again?  How long have the Tories been telling us that Crime is Down, Police Reform is Working?

I would dare to suggest that that particular mantra is fundamentally and fatally flawed and they need a new one.

May I suggest Crime Is Up and Police Reform is Not Working?

Is It Any Wonder That The Government Has You By The Sphericals?

I have oft times wondered how exactly the government get away with their aggressive tactics whilst ‘reforming’ the Police Service.

Personally, I don’t see much ‘Reform’ going on, just lots of things where the government gets its way over the Police.  No compromise, little, if any, consultation.  JFDI.

The arguments will rattle on for years about whether the Federation has done sufficient for its members.  I have been out of the game for too long now, 14 years, so I’m probably not best qualified to express an opinion here.  I have one, but I shall keep it to myself for a change.

Last night, over a cheeky Lambrini, I discovered that I had a set of stats that I was completely oblivious to having; the length of service for officers in the Police Service.

For all of the Forces in England and Wales (including BTP) the graph looks like this, with a clear spike in mid-service.

 

I suspect that officers with 0-5 years might be more likely to leave if things don’t please them greatly, and with the latest proposals coming out of the College and NPCC might actually be unofficially ‘encouraged’ to leave.

Officers in the 25-30+ category may well leave early as the loss of pension is not so great after tax, and may be deemed to be a price worth paying.

Those in the middle, the clear majority, are those who might be deemed to be ‘stuck’.  A huge spike in the 10-15 year category.  For years we have had all kinds of agencies telling us that we have untold ‘transferrable skills’, now we get the NPCC and College of Policing telling us that we don’t possess transferrable skills at all, so we have to do it their way.

Many of you will, quite reasonably, have been convinced that the only way forward is to knuckle down and do it their way. 10-15 years service, mortgage, family, kids at university, maintenance payments, suddenly staying in The Job and toeing the line doesn’t look quite so bad compared with the alternative.  Who could blame you if that’s how you think?  It was only the {expensive} pension that kept me (relatively) sane for 30 years.  It is factors such as this that allow NPCC, College and Home Secretary to get away with their, sometimes, outrageous ‘reforms’.  I make absolutely no apology for repeating that Reform means Improvement, and I’m far from convinced that the Police Service is being ‘Improved’.

reform

 verb

[WITH OBJECT]

  • 1Make changes in (something, especially an institution or practice) in order to improve it:

    ‘the Bill will reform the tax system’

A Happy New Year to you all, wherever you sit on the above graph, retired, or interested onlooker.

I have the stats for all of the individual forces, so if you are interested to know what the spread is closer to home, by all means DM or email me and I’ll let you have a copy, complete with a nice coloured graph.

It’s The Cuts, That’s All

The Armed Forces are at their lowest strength since before the Second World War.  Successive Strategic Defence Reviews have seen to that.  Only this week we waved goodbye to HMS Illustrious, off to a scrapyard somewhere.  Heaven knows when her replacement will be in situ with some fast jets aboard.  It’s the cuts you know, damned Armed Forces trying to save money, don’t they realise our country is at risk NOW?

Hospitals are closing their Maternity Units, A&E Departments etc etc.  Patients are inconsiderately cluttering up the corridors for hours before taking up a bed somewhere.  Surely they could be a bit more thoughtful. Oh? It’s the cuts you say?  Tight National Health Service trying to save some money while patients die eh?

The Prison Service have gone off piste and have decided to recruit some new Prison Officers.  They got told about the cuts but the prisoners weren’t having any of that so they started a few riots, prisoners and Prison Officers got injured so the soft Prison Service decided to recruit a few more to keep the prisoners happy.

Local Councils across the land have got the message.  They are moving books OUT of libraries to make space for staff and desks and computers etc.  It’s the cuts, stingy councils trying to save themselves some money.  Meals on Wheels? Remember them? Care for the elderly?  Leave them in hospital blocking the beds, that will save us a few thousand.

The Coastguards, they’ve done their bit too.  Shut a few of their coastal stations, outsourced their heliborne rescue service and shed a few coastguards.  That will help.  Who needs safety on our waters, a smaller bill is all we need.

20,000 fewer Police Officers, about 650 fewer Police Stations, savaged Pension Schemes.  The Police are doing their bit.  The only problem there is that crime is going UP. With fewer officers to deal with it, prevent it or solve it that’s a tad problematical, but never mind it will sort itself out, it’s only the cuts after all.  Now, apparently, the Police are somehow responsible for monitoring, or caring for, everyone who is released from Police Custody back into Society.  Where on earth are the resources for that coming from.  Never mind, the cuts will sort it out, they can stop doing something else instead.

As I got to the end of this far-from-exhaustive ‘list’ it occurred to me that there is in fact a Common Denominator.  Her Majesty’s Government.  Now led by Theresa May she has continued with all the old policies of Camoron, and her own as Home Secretary, and it is actually THE GOVERNMENT that are responsible for all these failings.  The BBC and The Mail have been criticising individual organisations for years, but it has now become crystal clear to me, the Government did it. Not the Prison Service, not the NHS, Not the Armed Forces, not the Coastguard Service, not the Police.  It was the government all along.  How did the BBC and The Mail not notice this? Crikey, it seems so simple now.

Maybe if we ask Cruella of the £1000 trousers nicely she’ll put it all back the way it was, except I fear that it’s far too late for that. The damage is done and the damage is deep.

Well done Mrs May. You must be very proud of what you and your party have achieved.

Nepotism Or Not Nepotism?

That is the question……

Some of you will know that I was going to stand for the Police and Crime Commissioner for West Mercia until Call Me Dave and the Cabinet Office tilted the playing field against Independent candidates.

Many of you will know that I subsequently applied for the position of Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for West Mercia but was unsuccessful.

For these reasons I feel that I am entitled to hold an opinion and comment on the outcomes.

First off, the position of Police and Crime Commissioner went to a Conservative Councillor from Wyre Forest District Council, John-Paul Campion, who, bizarrely, follows me on Twitter so will doubtless see this post.  The previous post-holder had been an Independent and his, then, Deputy, entered the fray as an Independent this time round and finished 4th.  The Independents relegated from 1st to 4th.

Possibly the intervention of Theresa May had something to do with it, with her unsolicited emails supporting the Conservative candidate.  Where did she get non-Party Members email addresses from? Did somebody abuse the Data Protection Act?

Come the recruitment time for Deputy I took the view that I had nothing to lose and would try to inject some balance into what I saw as a bad situation for Policing in West Mercia.

My background, antecedents and experience speak for themselves.  My CV and Personal Statement were checked out by some people who know about these things. You know who you are and I am truly grateful.

And……………I didn’t make it through the short listing.  20 applicants, 6 made it on to the Short List.  I have no idea what the short-listing criteria were but I was disappointed not to make it.

For what seemed like an eternity I sat and patiently waited while the interviews were conducted and eventually the successful candidate was announced………..a Conservative Councillor from Wyre Forest District Council.  Incredible coincidence.

The local Press have not been slow to pick up on this amazing piece good fortune.

New ‘part-time’ deputy PCC appointed on £40,000 salary – as police chief denies “nepotism” claim

Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion defends appointing Wyre Forest District Council colleague Tracey Onslow as deputy

One of the above Press articles makes this very valid point, and implies, if not states, that both are hanging onto their Councillor jobs as well, contradiction of that would be most welcome if this is not the case;

The West Mercia PCC represents the people who live in four local authority areas; Herefordshire, Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and Worcestershire.

“John Campion is a Wyre Forest DC and Worcestershire County Councillor. Tracey Onslow, is presently a Conservative Wyre Forest DC Councillor so we have a PCC and deputy PCC who are both from the Wyre Forest area of Worcestershire.

How WILL they adequately serve the people and Police of West Mercia if they also have “day jobs”?

I did manage to get hold of a set of the questions put to each of the 6 candidates who made it through to the interview stage, naive in parts, possibly tailored for a certain kind of person in others

 

The final insult for me personally is a pinned Tweet on Mr Campion’s personal Twitter account

Earlier in the week I was angry, today I am more sad.  Even if nepotism has not raised it’s ugly head, the people and Police of West Mercia surely deserve better.  This is a clear reminder of what can happen when you mix up Policing and Politics.  I blame Theresa May for that, Well Done, and for that, she is likely to be our next Prime Minister.

Please feel free to Unfollow me Mr Campion, but I have had just about enough of politics interfering with with Policing, and quite honestly, I’m GLAD I get didn’t the job as your Deputy.


A Post-Apocalyptic Dawn

Well, it’s taken 4 years but the Horsemen finally seem to have earnt their corn.

The votes have been counted and verified and I can announce that the winner is Theresa May.

Results in Wales are not set to be announced until Sunday but it seems that the Tory Machine has won the day.  Having lost Cheshire, Leicestershire  and Humberside to Labour, they went on to take Hampshire from Independent, Kent from Independent, Lincolnshire from Independent, Norfolk from Independent, Surrey from Independent, Warwickshire from Independent and West Mercia from Independent.  So, apart from 3 losses to Labour it seems that ALL of the Tory gains were at the expense of the Independents.

I don’t really see why we should be surprised by that, the Tories seem to have targeted the Independent seats with some very (in my view) questionable tactics.

Firstly we had the Cabinet Office decision at a very early stage to withdraw/withold funding for a free mailshot.  Not everyone agrees with me but it is my view that this seriously disadvanaged the Independent candidates without the deep pockets of Party candidates.

We have seen Spin, More Spin and downright untruths from some of the Tory candidates in this campaign.  What on earth is wrong with simply telling the truth?  The story you are telling might not be a vote winner, but your proposals for dealing with it might well be.  Don’t keep telling us that Crime is Down, when it demonstrably is not, tell us that crime has risen and what you propose to do about it.  Way too simple that one for some candidates, they had to have a waltzer ride instead.

In Surrey we saw the late entry of two more Independent candidates which caused a few raised eyebrows and split the Independent vote, but having said that the Tory candidate attracted more votes than all three Independent candidates added together.

Here in DeadBadgerShire we had the (unwelcome) intervention of Mrs Theresa May, MP, Home Secretary.  She seemed to be targeting undecided voters with an email assuring us all that Tory was the only way to go.

A certain amount of spin surely?  Not only the Conservative PCCs that have had the power to ‘Hire and Fire’.

Not only the Conservative PCCs that have set the Policing priorities and overseen multi million £ budgets.

Crime is down by more than a quarter since 2012?  Really.  CrimeStats have endured all kinds of problems over the last few years.  The Home Secretary knows full well that the Counting Rules have chsnged more frequently than my socks.  Recorded Crime is on the increase once more but no mention of that.

We need a PCC that will take the job seriously and work with the government?  Is she implying that ONLY a Conservative candidate will take the job seriously?  Why is it essential to work with government?  It isn’t, it is essential to make Policing work properly, and to serve the public properly.  Mind you, it makes Theresa’s life easier to have a compliant PCC, that could well explain why she wants a PCC that will work with government.

How did she choose who to send it to?  How did she get their email addresses (that could be a worry)?  I didn’t get one so it wasn’t sent to all.

Even if wasn’t wrong to chip in (and some think it wasn’t) just because she COULD, doesn’t mean that she SHOULD have.

In Dorset she progressed to a rather more controversial video, promoting the same message as the email but targeted at Dorset.

Some of you know, most of you don’t know, but I was originally standing as an Independent Candidate for my local Force.  I had received all my registration paperwork from the Electoral Commission, I had sorted my £5k deposit, was designing a campaign website and was well over half way through getting my initial 100 nominations as required when the Cabinet Office withdrew mailshot funding. I was left in a similar position to Mike Pannett but with three entire counties to cover I certainly couldn’t afford leaflets for 3 large counties, I couldn’t effectively ‘Press the Flesh’ over such a large area.  Rightly or wrongly I took the decision early that the field was being tilted and manipulated by government so I withdrew.  Ultimately the sole Independent candidate here finished 4th, so it is highly unlikely that I would have won.  The Tories overthrew a reasonable Independent majority, despite the fact that the only candidate I knew anything about was the surviving Indie, and I was taking an interest unlike the average voter.

Do I regret withdrawing? I most certainly do.  Do I think I could have won?  Almost certainly not, but I am immensely grateful to those who supported and encouraged me, and I’m sorry if you feel that I let you down, but realistically I am convinced, with the benefit of hindsight, that success was far from assured.

There is an element that doesn’t believe that an ex Police Officer would make a good PCC.  Whyever not?  Almost anybody from a School Leaver to a 100 year old pensioner is eligible to stand.  How is any knowledge and experience, at whatever level, be a negative thing?

With just the Welsh votes to be declared the Tories have 20 out of the 36 PCCs elected in England.  More than half.  Labour have 13 PCCs in England, leaving a meagre 3 Independents. THREE!!

Party Politics now play a HUGE part in Policing of England, and I’m sure Wales will follow suit.  Who is to blame?  Personally I blame, partly, Theresa May, for her questionable interventions, but mainly, our old friend APATHY.

The government did a wonderful job of keeping the elections low-key, but I’m sure more people COULD have voted but presumably didn’t think it was important.

Finally I want to pay my own personal tribute to Mike Pannett.  I know the administrative hoops that he had to jump through in the background.  He had to endure some pretty tacky tactics along the way, but he did so with head held high.  Well done Mike.  You have lost no friends or supporters here.  The boy done good.