Today I decided to look at where the three main political parties stand on crime? The BBC issues comparison site provided the results…
Conservative: Replace police authorities with a directly-elected police commissioner; strengthen stop and search powers to tackle knife crime; give police the power to publicly identify offenders; change the law so that anyone acting “reasonably” to stop a crime or apprehend a criminal is not arrested or prosecuted; allow the police to use instant sanctions to deal with anti-social behaviour; reduce the burden of stop and search procedures; increase prison capacity above Labour’s plans, in order to scrap the early release scheme; allow courts to specify minimum and maximum sentences for certain offenders. (Source BBC)
Comment: The directly elected police commissioners make for an interesting concept, one which often causes opposition. I think the major sticking point here will be a reluctance to accept the concept by those self important councilors who currently inhabit Police Authority seats. No other major surprises here although the devil (as they say) will be in the detail.
Labour: Highlight 40% drop in overall crime since 1997; mandatory assessment of every parent of every child aged 10-15 who is under consideration for an Asbo; automatic parenting orders on those whose teenage children breach an Asbo; tougher sentences for knife crime; portable weapon scanners for the police; highlight 15,000 increase in police numbers since 1997; pledge to protect frontline police from budget cuts in 2011-2013; highlight schemes to reduce police bureaucracy; oppose elected police authorities or commissioners; add 15,000 prison places by 2014 through the UK�s largest ever prison-building programme. (Source BBC)
Comment: It is interesting to see that a good proportion of the Labour stance consists of nothing more than a self-indulgent pat on the back and a good old blow of their own trumpet. Three instances about ‘highlighting’ so-called success actually means nothing new, just resting on false laurels. The reason for a ‘40% drop in crime’ has nothing to do with the Labour Party, unless you take into account how they have (in collusion with senior police officers) manipulated the way crime is actually recorded so it looks like there is less! The ‘15,000 increase in police numbers’ does not equate to actual officers on the streets, it has more to do with increased senior officers, PCSO and ‘wider police family’ staff. And ‘schemes to reduce police bureaucracy’, that’s bloody rich, there is more pen pushing to quantify statistical performance returns now than there has ever been in the past!
Lib Dem: Increase police numbers by 3,000 over five years; scrap identity card scheme; make police authorities directly elected, with increased powers; annual fitness tests for police officers; replace form-filling with new technology; create a National Crime Reduction Agency to spread best practice through the force; review police officers’ terms and conditions; seek advice from Law Commission and Plain English Campaign to make paperwork more simple. (Source BBC)
Comment: Interesting to see how only the Lib Dems have made a point about the ‘identity card scheme’? Perhaps they consider this will result in a few extra votes from the anti ID card brigade? The concept of an ‘annual fitness test’ is not such a bad idea however, I suspect it will lead to far higher sickness levels and staff turnover, especially as police forces have neither finance or time to devote to the process, unlike the military. They also talk about ‘new technology’ and ‘best practice’, two areas that have already been ongoing for some time in the police service which (so far) don’t appear to have produced any advantageous results?
If any of them could actually bring real change to the police service, for the benefit of both the officers AND the public they serve I would be happy however, I won’t hold my breath!