Last Updated on March 16, 2016 by RetiredAndAngry
There has been a lot of comment on Twitter recently to the effect that ex Police Officers should not stand for election in the forthcoming PCC Eelections in May. Why not? Who CAN stand in a hope of being elected? ALMOST ANYONE.
To be able to stand as a candidate at a Police and Crime Commissioner election in England (excluding London, and Wales, you must be:
at least 18 years old on the day of your nomination
a British citizen, an eligible Commonwealth citizen or a
citizen of any other other member state of the European
registered as a local government elector in a local council
area that is within the police area in which you wish to stand, both at the time of your nomination and on polling day.
To be fair there are some people who cannot stand, who are they?
Bascally they are;
1.2 Apart from meeting the qualifications for standing for election, you must also not be disqualified.
1.3 Most disqualifications apply on the day you are nominated and on polling day (see paragraph 1.4), but some will only apply on taking up office (see paragraph 1.5).
Disqualifications that apply on nomination and on polling day
1.4 You cannot stand for election if on the day of your nomination and on polling day:
I. You have been nominated as a candidate at a Police and Crime Commissioner election taking place on the same day for a different police area.
II. You have ever been convicted of an imprisonable offence. This disqualification applies even if you were not actually imprisoned for that offence, or the conviction has been spent.
III. You are a police officer or are directly or indirectly employed by the police. For further information, see paragraph 1.8
IV. You are disqualified under certain provisions of the House of Commons Disqualification Act 1975, (as amended), if you are a civil servant, a member of the armed forces or hold any judicial office specified in Part 1 of Schedule 1 of the House of Commons Disqualifications Act 1975 (as amended).
V. You are a member of the legislature of any country or territory outside the UK.
VI. You are a member of staff of a local council that falls wholly or partly within the police area in which you wish to stand, or you are employed in an organisation that is under the control of a local council in the police area in which you wish to stand.
Note that you may be employed by an organisation that is under the control of a local council, for example, if you work for certain fire services or health services. This list is not exhaustive. For further information see paragraph 1.13.
At a Police and Crime Commissioner election you are not treated as being employed by a local council if you work at a school (either as a teacher or a member of non-teaching staff) that is maintained or assisted by a local council.
Elected members of councils are not disqualified from being elected at a Police and Crime Commissioner election.
VII. You are the subject of a bankruptcy restrictions order or interim order. For more information, see paragraph 1.20.
Much has been made of ‘political independence’. My take on this is; even if you regard PCCs as a political post (and most people do) if the candidate or post-holder are not aligned with or supported by a Political Party then surely they may truly be regarded as Independent. After all, we have Independent MPs, Independent Councillors, nobody describes them as not being ‘Independent’ but we happily accept that they are indeed ‘political’. What is the difference please? Free from the shackles of Party Politics, no expectation or obligation to “toe the Party Line”.
When it comes to “holding the Chief Constable to account” we are faced with the assertion that anyone who didn’t rise to the rank of Chief Constable has somehow ‘failed’. I for one do not regard myself as having failed in this quest quite simply because I did not attempt to reach those dizzy heights. I joined the Police to be a ‘Copper’, not to jump through assorted hoops to attain great rank. I would certainly be offended to be branded a ‘failure’.
There also seems to be an assumption that an ex Police Officer would be incapable of forming a professional, working relationship with the Chief Constable and would be forever ‘blurring the lines’ or ‘overstepping the mark’. How condescending is that? What guarantees do you have that a professional politician would be any better, or do they have the monopoly on forming such working relationships?
I have also seen the arguement on Twitter that ex Police Officers are unlikely to act with an appropriate level of Integrity and Ethics. In my view that is an outrageous generalisation. Why on earh should ex Police Officers, retired or not, have less integrity than a politician, or Mrs Miggins who was a full time florist until just a week ago? At various points in their careers Police Officers will have been vetted. How would politicians or members of the public score in a Vetting Process? When it comes to public confidence, the Police still score higher than politicians;
Let's remember the facts. Public confidence via latest MORI poll. Local councillors 43% – Politicians (generally) 21% – Police 68% #PCC2016
— 4Policing.com (@4Policing) March 15, 2016
I am not naive enough to think that all Police Officers, Ex, Retired or Serving, are all 100% perfect, but I certainly don’t believe that their standards are lower than the norm.
At the end of the day all I ask from any of the candidates is that they tell the truth and stick to stablished facts in their campaigns. That way the electorate can vote for the candidate of their choice, having been ptoperly informed along the eay, and not persuaded or disuaded by somebody before the campaigns have even properly begun.
To return to the beginning, do I see a problem with ex (retired) Police Officers standing as a candidate? No I most certainly do not. If that’s what the public want then they can and will vote for them. The converse is also true.