Coffee House

David Cameron tries to drum up interest in the Police and Crime Commissioner elections

3 November 2012

10:15 AM

3 November 2012

10:15 AM

David Cameron spent yesterday campaigning for Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner candidates in Bedfordshire and Leicestershire. The visits, though, received scant national attention: the only coverage I’ve spotted so far is on page 33 of The Times.

Talk to ministers and they maintain that the Police and Crime Commissioner elections are more visible out in the country than they are in London, where there’s no contest. They argue that the capital-centric nature of the media explains why the press keep writing the elections off as a damp squib.


There is, I suspect, some truth to this charge. But an average turnout of only 20 percent would still not be impressive.

Cameron tells The Times that turnout will increase next time round because voters will realise that the commissioners do actually have real power. I expect that this is right. But Cameron can’t escape criticism for the Conservatives’ failure to recruit a slate of impressive candidates this time round.

One other thing worth noting is Cameron’s strong hint that if re-elected, he would simply legislate for elected mayors. Number 10 remains stung by the failure of most of the mayoral referendums this May.

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Show comments
  • Efjay Dee

    Nobody where I live wants, supports or voted for one of these ‘commissioners’. Everyone I have spoken to wants them abolished, the last thing we need is yet another layer of politician toads meddling and messing things up for petty party political ends. Experienced officers with years of good service should be appointed directly to the roles by the state or just abolish them completely. £75 million wasted and for what? It’s insane and nobody supports it. Politicians are reptiles, hang the lot.

  • Frank Sutton

    This is just another arena for party political politicking – where I live we have a choice between tory, labour or libdem.
    The labour one (the only one so far to put anything through my front door) promises to fight police cuts, even though that isn’t in the commissioner’s remit.
    Still, let’s not politicise the police force, eh?

  • Mirtha Tidville

    Interesting point is the last paragraph of this piece about Dave foisting elected mayors on us, because we all keep voting not to have them. This really shows what an arrogant, out of touch, bullying tosser he really is……Anyone who votes for him needs their head examining

    • TomTom

      They tried it by declaring existing Council Leaders as UNelected “Elected Mayors”. They sidelined Voters in Liverpool by bribing the parties to do a Stitch-Up and go to a Mayor without a Referendum.
      They are simply doing what Hitler did in 1934 when he reorganised State Governments in Germany and imposed Gauleiters in each New Regional Entity

  • wrinkledweasel

    Anything that will encourage the Police to abandon their outdated notions of political correctness, i.e listen to what the public actually wants from a police force, is good for me.

    Why not extend the idea to the heads of local government?

    • TomTom

      Political Correctness is imposed from the Home Office which evaluates Chief Constables using these measures. Electing Police Commissioners will not replace the Home Office bureaucracy

      • wrinkledweasel

        That’s not what some of the candidates claim. They suggest, if you read their campaign spiel, that they can do something about PC PCs. And those who don’t want elections are generally lefties, and those lefties who put themselves up for it dole out the usual guff about building communities and protecting minorities. If the lefties are against it, then it is probably a good idea, since they like to oppose anything that gives the silent majority a say.

        I think you will find that the results will tell, so that in places like Bristol, a hotbed of leftie tossers (to use a Borisism) the emphasis will be on treating the thousands of failed asylum seekers in the city like little angels. I am not aware of any city where the election of a right wing commissioner will be a shoe-in, but I shall be very interested to see if they manage to challenge the absurdities of such affairs, like the one in Bristol, where Stonewall was consulted on a decision to de-foliate parts of the Downs, in case it interfered with the rights of gay cruisers to bugger each other in the woods.

        • Gareth

          Great, another “if the lefties think it’s bad, I’ll support it” post. Glad to see you think through your political views in such well-evidenced detail.

  • David Lindsay

    Thirty years ago, the abolition of the House of Lords and the redefinition of legal marriage to include same-sex couples were both peculiar to the “Loony Left”. The first was most associated with Tony Benn, while the second was most associated with Ken Livingstone.

    Both are now the policy of the successor to the SDP. Both are now the policy of the Conservative Party. The only party that remains less than convinced is Benn’s and
    Livingstone’s own. The third leg of the stool, bringing the IRA into the government of Northern Ireland, was accepted in principle by all three parties all the way back when John Major was Prime Minister.

    Out of the same stable comes the attempt to subject the police to political control. That is the otherwise wholly mysterious origin of Police and Crime Commissioners. Labour should promise to abolish them. The turnout at the forthcoming elections will more than justify such a commitment.

  • ButcombeMan

    Cranmer has a useful comment also, read the comments there:

  • Daniel Maris

    Ah yes, the boys in yellow.

    This policy always was a nonsense, in fact in the top ten of the Government’s nonsense policies (and that’s saying something).

  • ButcombeMan

    Rather than campaign for this, Cameron would have been better to distance himself from the whole farce. It is too late now.

    Turnout will be painfully low. For non-believers, Weatherspoon is right, a spoiled paper is better than not voting.

    These Commissioners simply miss the point of what really needs doing with Policing.

    The Tories are beyond any help on “Law & Order” yet it used to be their bailliewick, even Labour voters thought so.

  • WetherspoonThree

    I believe that you can judge a contest by the quality of the contestants. But rather than boycott these elections, I believe the electorate, should show their disdain by spoiling their ballot papers. To do otherwise will permit unscrupulous politicians to interpret indifference as tacit support for the new system.

  • Colonel Mustard

    After New Labour’s politicisation of the police the fact that the political parties are now jumping on this bandwagon is concerning. Locally the Labour candidate’s “manifesto” for the police reads like a parody in the “armed wing of the social services” mould, promising to prioritise all the politically correct stuff about women, children and “the vulnerable”, domestic violence, hate crime, etc. The street criminals and gangs must be rubbing their hands in glee at this prospect.

  • John

    No campaign in Leeds either. I’ve seen no leaflets, couldn’t tell you who was standing or what they’re standing for. I think there was a vaguely sponge-Bob-like figure outside Morrison’s with a ‘back to basics’ sticker a few weeks ago but no idea which candidate he was supporting. This will be the first election I choose not to vote in because I have not the faintest idea what my vote will mean.

    • TomTom

      It isn’t “Leeds” but West Yorkshire which doesn’t even have a Chief Constable but no doubt Teresa May will impose another on the Plebs just as Bettison was recycled from the private sector “rest” at Centrex. We have the option – if you have Internet Access to find out who the candidates are – 3 political candidates who are EXISTING Members of the Appointed Police Authority or an “Independent” who spent 30 years inside West Yorkshire Police…………the Choice of Insiders is Overwhelming……………….this is a true Soviet Election

      • Mirtha Tidville

        And that independent sounds like he is completely barking!!

  • Troika21

    I really don’t think I’ll be voting. No-one spelled out why the old system did not work, or why this one will help. I looked up the candidates in our area – all say the same thing; ‘I will be tough on crime and prioritise resources effectively, whilst representing everyone’.

    Like Rhoda, I’ve had ballot papers but no information on what any of them would actually do.

    They’re all former coppers or councillors to boot, so, meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

    • Robert Castlereagh

      Cameron has a lot more to contend with today after Newsnight

      Senior paedophile figure from Thatcher years vehemently denies allegations of ‘sickening’ right-wing activity, according to Channel 4 News

      A senior paedophile is said to have rejected claims that he was involved in the systematic abuse of millions of people over a period of nearly two decades during the 80s and the 90s under the Thatcher administration.

      The former child abuser – who has taken out a court injunction to prevent him being outed as a prominent Thatcherite – has “vehemently denied” what he called the “sick allegations” that he is a Tory, according to Channel 4 News.

      The senior paedophile, who does not want to be named, also told The Daily Telegraph the allegations he was a Thatcherite were “totally untrue”.

      He said:

      During the time I was an active paedophile I never even visited a Conservative Association and if anyone publishes anything at all suggesting I am a Tory they will get a writ in the morning, I wouldn’t wait two minutes to fight such disgusting allegations.

      In one of Britain’s worst ever political abuse scandals, it is alleged that millions of people across the UK – particularly miners – were physically or emotionally abused by a “powerful network of tories” with links to a former prime minister, No 10 and parliament in the all-pervading climate of abuse which existed between 1979 and 1997.

  • Rhoda Klapp

    There’s no campaign here, no leaflets, no coverage. Nothing but the ballot forms. An election with no coverage is not democracy. You can’t (well, I can’t) vote for someone if you don’t know their history, their qualifications, their plans. It should be called off.

    On a less serious note, I’ve been trying to think of a manifesto which would appeal around here. Cops to have speed traps in my village but not the ones I drive through. Gypsies to be harried if they even look like stopping. Burglars to be shot. A police station which is actually manned. A call centre which can find my locality on a map.

    • Bruce, UK


    • dalai guevara

      Failing politicians are in line to getting a better pension plan. I do not need to look to Brussels to see how UKIP must be loving this fact.

    • Robert Castlereagh

      You must ask why the Home Secretary is replacing the existing police authorities with elected commissioners

      Answer: so they can be blamed for the consequences of the Government’s cuts to police funding.

      Theresa May is setting police and crime commissioners up because she wants them to take the flack for her mess. But it is communities that will pay the price
      of the Tories’ decisions to turn their backs on the fight against crime.

      Theresa May is weak on crime and its causes – cutting 15,000 police officers
      and cutting crime prevention by 60% too. Street lighting, action on gangs, CCTV
      plans, youth services and community safety projects are all being hit – making
      it much harder for the police and communities to prevent crime.