Purdah – Have We Lost The Plot?
Cate Moore has already written a piece on Purdah and what it entails, so I shall not bore you by repeating it.
I do, however, question the application of Purdah, and I appreciate that Cate does not necessarily agree with my views on this matter.
Having looked Purdah up, it seems to originate from the early 20th Century.
According to the House of Commons Library;
“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 term ‘pre-election period’ is also used. “………..”Guidance is issued to civil servants on the principles that they should observe in relation to the conduct of Government business in the pre-election period; the guidance for the pre-election period in 2015 was issued on 30 March 2015.”…………..”There is statutory guidance for local authorities about publicity during the period just before local elections. The pre-election period is defined as beginning with the publication of notice of the election. In 2015 the latest date for the publication of the notice of election will be 30 March 2015. The Code of Recommended Practice on Local Authority Publicity is issued under section 4 of the Local Government Act 1986. The Local Government Association has published Purdah: a short guide to publicity during the pre-election period which gives further information.”
So, there we have it. To my simple mind Purdah applies to Civil Servants in Central and Local Government.
Police Officers are NOT Civil Servants, and neither are Police Staff, and neither are the general public at large. I accept that there are specific regulations within the Police Service concerning Political Activity, membership of Political Parties etc etc, but as far as I can see they are specifically NOT affected by Purdah.
Any attempt by Police Management to impose Purdah on officers and/or staff I see as just one more example of ACPO types imposing their control over their faithful flock. Many years ago if a boss said jump, the reply was “Certainly Sir, how high?” Now it’s more likely to be “Yes Sir, straight away Sir, how high and in what style would you like me to jump?” The consequences of failing to carry out a questionable order having serious consequences, far worse than in yesteryear.
However, please don’t get into trouble on my account. I can only imagine the tone of some conversations if I was still serving, rather, just bear in mind, and question the reason for Purdah being quoted, perhaps inappropriately.
Policing Politics should never be mixed, yeah right.