Really? Once upon a time maybe, but this government has changed all that forever.
In recent months the landscape has been turned on its head. Almost as soon as the date for the PCC elections was made public David Cameron’s Cabinet Office announced that there would be no funding for a free mailshot for the candidates. I have no idea what the financial implications of this decision are but it will almost certainly disadvantage the Independent candidates funding their own campaigns. I know at least one candidate who has had to withdraw from the fray for exactly this reason, and no other.
Then just a few short days ago someone I know received the below email. I didn’t get it for some reason, but having read it I’m not really surprised.
Theresa May, clearly expressing her views, and not the views of Mrs Theresa May but Theresa May MP, Home Secretary. This clearly introduces party politics into the campaigns and I’m not really sure whether or not it may breach any purdah.
I’m reasonably certain that this email will be repeated all over the country. It was sent to somebody who is most definitely not a member of the Conservative Party, nor any other, and not a supporter of any party either. Heaven knows how the email address was obtained by the Conservative Party but it would not have been willingly provided.
Then, this morning I saw an article on Sky News quoting Lynne Owens of the National Crime Agency and putting their own particular spin on what she said.
Let me be clear, I don’t really have a problem with what Ms Owens said, but it left her and the NCA open to media spin. In my opinion (and that’s all it is) Policing should take NO part whatsoever in the leave/remain campaigns. State the Pros and Cons if you must, but with no actual or implied preference attached. It is quite right that the world of Policing should be prepared for the outcome of the Referendum in June. It would not be the first time that contingency plans would have been prepared. Whatever the outcome of the Referendum it will take at least two years to exit. If the vote is Remain then nothing in Policing needs to change. Policing needs to be ready for the possibility of Exit but that will not happen overnight in June. It would be reckless in the extreme NOT to be prepared, but regardless of any problems associated with Exit, Policing should not seek to influence the outcome in any way.
David Cameron, Thersa May and to a certain extent Tom Winsor and George Osborne have created a country where Party Politics are noe entrenched in Policing, and I, for one, think that is a terrible thing to have done. Not one of their better achievements by any means.
I’m an old crusty, one of the dinosaurs that Sir Tom dislikes so much, but I’m not going to apologise for that.
Cumbria also gets the Theresa May treatment
“A vote for a Conservative PCC is a vote for a candidate who will work with the Government to deliver lower crime and safer communities, while making effective use of police budgets.”
Theresa May, March 2016
Electing the right PCC in May is vital to people making sure their policing priorities are heard.
“Nationally, the Conservative Government has protected overall police spending for the next four years and reformed policing to make forces more accountable, effective and better value for money for local taxpayers. This means every force will have the resources and powers they need to keep on cutting crime.
“Vote Conservative for a PCC who will work effectively with the Government to ensure your police force uses those resources and takes the right steps to deliver lower levels of crime and safer communities.”
Theresa May, April 2016