Police Reform Bill risks politicising the police at huge cost to the taxpayer

Ed Balls MP, Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary, said in response to the publication of the Government’s Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill:

On the Government’s plans for elected police and crime commissioners:

“At its heart this goes against a 150 year tradition of keeping politics out of policing. It raises the very real prospect of a politician telling a Chief Constable how to do their job. Even the government’s own consultation confirms the very real fear that plans for elected police chiefs will see money spent on bringing politicians into running the police instead of on the frontline.

“People will be rightly angry if the government can find the money for this at a time when the police are facing twenty per cent cuts that will mean thousands fewer police officers. When this controversial top-down experiment comes with an estimated cost of £100million – the equivalent of 600 full time police officers – it’s time for the government to think again.”

On ‘spin doctors’ for elected police chiefs:

“While police officers are being cut, it’s shocking that Ministers have told private meetings that their new elected police commissioners will have political spin doctors at a cost of £2 million. This risks politicising the police further and at huge cost to the public, yet a single elected police chief for an area as large as the West Midlands, Greater Manchester or North Wales will do little to improve local police accountability.”

On replacing full time police officers with volunteers:

“If true the government’s plan to recruit thousands of part time volunteer police, at the same time as twenty per cent cuts will mean losing our most experienced officers, will confirm people’s worst fears about what David Cameron’s ‘big society’ really means. Special constables play a really important role, but volunteers are no substitute for the thousands of experienced full-time officers who face the chop.”

Notes to Editors

1. Today’s Daily Telegraph reports: “Theresa May, the Home Secretary, wants to recruit an extra 50,000 special constables over and above the current 15,000 to bolster regular officers.”

2. The government’s report on the consultation responses to the “Policing in the 21st Century” White Paper says: “Several respondents requested clarity about the costs associated with introducing PCCs, with some noting that many police authorities already feel under resourced. As a result some respondents suggested that the cost of providing the PCC with an appropriately staffed support team, to assist them in performing their duties and reaching out to communities across force areas, would be significantly higher than the costs currently incurred by police authorities. In addition, many questioned the decision to incur the new costs of holding PCC elections at a time when public spending is being significantly reduced… Many said that direct elections, and allowing candidates to stand from political parties, increased the risk of politicising policing.” (pg. 9)

3. Today’s Daily Telegraph also reports that the Policing Minister Nick Herbert told a private meeting of police authority chairs on 9 November that elected police and crime commissioners would have their own political advisers, which could cost up to £2 million.

4. According to the Home Affairs Select Committee’s report on elected police and crime commissioners published today, the Association of Police Authorities has estimated that “introducing a system of Police and Crime Commissioners would cost about £100 million more than the current system over the next five years. This figure includes running costs, as well as the cost of the elections.” (para 21).

Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Add to favorites
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Technorati
  • email
  • Facebook
  • MySpace
  • Reddit
  • RSS
  • Twitter
Posted December 1st, 2010 by Ed's team

Leave a Reply