Recently I wrote about the ongoing confusion and apathy surrounding Police and crime commissioner (PCC) elections (see here). It appears we’re still happy to potter about whilst considering taking a Mulligan…
Many questions regarding the Police and Crime Commissioner elections still remain for example; will we see any solid advantages realised in the policing of our society after the 15th of November? Or, as the cynical amongst us have tended to suggest, is the whole process little more than a limp political ploy, one that is designed to detract from the central government failings on crime and the impacts of crime?
The official PCC candidates for the City of York and the county of North Yorkshire have now been confirmed but even that hasn’t really galvanised the electorate. With less than two weeks until the elections I’m still wondering; (a) will the anticipated poor electoral turn-out be significant enough to provide a true mandate for the succesful candidate and (b) will those who are elected realy be in a position to truly “ensure the policing needs of our community are met” or effectivly “oversee how crime is tackled in our area”?
After browsing through the websites and Facebook pages of our prospective PCC candidates for North Yorkshire I would have to say, I doubt it. In addition, much of expected electoral apathy is also evident by the Facebook ‘likes’ for both those candidates; Ruth Potter (113) and Julia Mulligan (69) at the time of writing.
I believe I have the experience and skills to do a good job for local people. My focus will be to draw up a police and crime plan that truly reflects the needs of our communities, and then to hold the police to account in delivering that plan… (Julia Mulligan – Conservative)
I understand the cycle of crime that criminals spiral into when constantly going in and out of prisons, and believe in tough restorative justice that is beneficial to communities and to victims of crime. I will prioritize all forms of hate crime. I look forward to working with local people in every part of North Yorkshire… (Ruth Potter – Labour)
The cynic in me would also ask; has the gender of the two candidates got anything to do with appeasing those who say, there are too few female leaders in politics or other public bodies? But gender issues aside, the real concern must be; how will either candidate actually deliver what they say they will? And if they can, does anyone really give a stuff?
In a recent straw poll conducted at our weekly Fisherman’s Arms gathering, where a small group of relatively well-educated and interested individuals examine politics, current affairs and all manner of life issues, the results would tend to confirm the projected electoral apathy. Worryingly, one was even mindful to turn out and exercise his right to vote but intended to ‘spoil’ his ballot paper by way of protest.
One of the factors compounding public apathy is; far too many people have no real interest in any of the very important issues involved here, until there is some direct impact upon them as individuals that is. The fact that Mulligan is at least asking what the public think about those issues and asking what they want (answer her survey), is an admirable starting point I suppose.
As I’ve said continually before; all this soundbite rhetoric is based upon little more than a desire to enhance the longevity of individual political careers and the atempt to combat waning public support for political parties. Given the potential impacts upon policing in our communities I’m worried.
I’m concerned that the operational requirements of our police, along with the real needs and desires of our society are, in many ways, out of kilter with each other. The cause of this has been far too many years of emotive media headlines, along with the intentional and constant distortion or manipulation of crime statistics.
Add to this the career aspirations of many self-interested senior police officers, who have used policing as mostly a tool for personal advancement and it’s easy to conclude; the chasm between police capability and public expectation is now almost impossible to repair, despite what the politicians would have us believe!
One thing is for certain; failure to engage in the PCC process, or at least have some modicum of interest about trying to influence the outcomes of what is, for all intents and purpose a done deal, is simply not the right option but thankfully, its still your personal choice!
NOTE: Dictionary definitions of the candidate surnames are probably relevant here, in a somewhat ironic manner; Potter [verb] present participle pottering 1. Occupy oneself in a desultory but pleasant manner, doing a number of small tasks. 2. Move or go in a casual, unhurried way. Mulligan [noun] 1. a stew made from odds and ends of food, 2. (in informal golf) an extra stroke allowed after a poor shot, not counted on the scorecard.
NB. I wish to make it clear, the above quotations are not selected because of any personal agreement/disagreement with the views expressed, neither should they be taken as any form of endorsement for the individual concerned or the political party that backs them.
- Move along now. There’s nothing to see here: Police commissioner elections fail to take off (independent.co.uk)
- Elected police commissioners should be given greater powers according to think tank (express.co.uk)
- May accused on police commissioners (express.co.uk)
- Nearly eight out of 10 standing in police polls are white men (independent.co.uk)