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"The Tories' behaviour has raised fears that the police were being politicised"

Jacqui Smith

Roflmao. By the way, one of Jacqui Smith's constituents has tried and (so far) failed to get answers about Paul Scott-Lee's(potential candidate for Met Chief?) failure to prosecute the homophobic preachers of hate shown in the Dispatches Green Lane Mosque documentary.

Is it surprising that Jacqui opposes votes. Last year, on a 39.27% turnout, the people of Redditch voted 89.14% YES to a referendum and 89.82% NO to adopting the Lisbon Treaty.

In Bournemouth 2006 David Davis was also presenting the case for directed elected police chiefs.

Oh dear fatty Jaqui lying through her teeth again. Labour only believes in democracy when it suites their agenda, Boris did the right thing getting rid of Blair, I would hope that when the Conservatives comes to power a full range of measures to devolve power to local communities will be undertaken.

I tend to believe that the British public is very wise, and is quite able to make a good choice when given the chance. As a democrat I support the election of the highest police officers by public poll. I think Boris did the right thing by pushing Ian Blair out, but it would have been far healthier if the public had done this. After all Boris is an elected Mayor with a clear mandate for change, so there was nothing wrong with him exercising his power in lieu of a democratic vote. Is there a danger of the police becoming politicized? I think it already is, and probably it always will be, unless of course we would prefer the army to be drafted in to control riots, demonstrations and strikes. The police take its orders from government and is upholding the laws of the land as defined by parliament. So it cannot be independent of the will of parliament, which is itself an extension of the will of the people.


Redditch Jacqui, with her arrogant Miss Piggy snout and Patricia Hewitt-like sneer.

The best act of any Conservative politician since Major pulled out of the ERM, was Boris' superb decision to destroy Ian Blair.

I agree that this is a potential vote winner and the right thing to do. Trust in the Police has never been so weak.

I have two caveats.
I would elect the Chief Constable directly not a commissioner i.e. only serving policeman could be candidates not politicians. I think this would be a more effective constraint on a Chief Constable than a Commissioner, making him personally responsible and it would also tend to allay the fear that there could ever be a BNP Commissioner.
Secondly, I would also elect the Metropolitan Commissioner, which even Boris is shy of. If the Diplomatic and Royal Protection and Anti Terror functions were hived off, made national and kept within the remit of the Home Secretary. Then there is no reason why Londoners should not also have the right to vote on their policing.

Directly elected Police Chief's acting within an agreed local remit which complies with a national standard operating procedure, and is subject to electoral accountability rather than the political wings of government, is nothing to fear.

All this talk about not representing minorities is a load of garbage. The majority rules in a democracy and not the minority leftist, often angry Lib-Lab luddites who have thus far tried every trick in the book to ruin our country, including showing complete ignorance of the people and their democratic rights over the Lisbon Treaty.

Also, it might end the subversion of our country by Common Purpose graduates who's ambition is to abolish our democracy altogether.

I remain concerned about the creation of yet more political offices, although I would support the concept of direct election provided the candidates were restricted to police officers of sufficient seniority who should be constrained from political debate/comment in the same way that a civic Mayor is considered to be.

Gauleiterin Jacqui Smith still clearly sulking about Boris Johnson's coup d'etat in ridding London of the most politicised Metropoliitan Police Commissioner there has ever been. Well done Boris but he will need to beware: Smith is no doubt plotting to replace Blair with some other New Labour apparatchik.

The police is already politicised. When Jacqboots says she doesn't want politicisation of the police, what she really means is she doesn't want the police politicised by people with whose views she disagrees.

"We do not trust to you vote for the right people"?

Well they're quite right aren't they.
After all 'we' voted in this shower in the first place!!

I think Jonathan's idea is a good one, we do need to be careful of this attack from Jacqui Smith.
Jacqui has many faults YMT, but I wouldn't call her fat! Not sure, you should use this to attack her anyway!

No doubt there is concern in the Home Office that a touch of real democratic input into policing might see more time and resources being directed towards detecting and preventing true crime, rather than towards persecuting soft targets for motoring fines and building up the DNA database. Hopefully it will not be long before one of the most depressing phrases in the English language - Home Secretary Jacqui Smith - is banished to history.

I'm surprised that the innovative suggestions for police reform from Douglas Carswell MP and Daniel Hannan MEP, have not even been mentioned. Just refer to The Spectator magazine (13th December edition), for example.

This piece recommends that the police should be placed under elected sheriffs. Clearly, the disgraceful Damian Green affair was a "political arrest". What more evidence is needed, to show that we have a politicised police force?

Jacqui Smith's remarks are not constructive in any way whatsoever.

As a Conservative member on a police authority I see the idea of directly elected members another nail in the local government coffin. They are trying it with Transport bodies and it is regional government through the back door. Yes the political make up of the authorities should be more reflective of the councillors they serve but another directly elected mayor gimmick with about 15% turnout hardly, in my book, would make the authorities more representative of the public. Blair should have gone after the Menzies debacle but I'll take no lectures from Jackboots on that. Hutton enquiry, Standard's Officer removal when she got too close to exposing Vaz? All Labour bullying their way.

So Smith is concerned that the police were being politicised.

As PragueTory has so succinctly put it: roflmao.

It's a bit like the fat guy sitting down to a Full English breakfast, but refusing sugar in his tea because he's concerned he might be putting on weight.

And then blaming it on the doctor for telling him he's obese.

Graeme Pirie @ 10.51 - You've got it in one!!

I don't know whether the Jaqkui Smith quote is verbatim - precisely, but if it is, then this part is quite interesting:-
'Looking at what has happened over the past two months, there has been a fundamental shift in the way people think about the politicisation of the police.'

The very strong implication of that sentence is that politicisation is/was a definite objective of this Labour government, which they probably regard as perfectly legitimate, but now, of course they realise that they will have to backtrack - for the time-being!

Please someone what does 'roflmao' mean???

This is the tip of a much bigger issue regarding the need to democratise local government in England and restore power to the lowest possible level. This includes hospitals, police, revenue etc etc.
The tories having created much of the problem in the 80s need a clear strategy to free people from whitehall

Patsy - Rolling on the floor laughing my arse off.

The police are already democratically accountable via the elected Home Secretary. What a "Justice Secretary" has to do with it I know not understand

Police accountable to the Electorate? Sounds great doesn't it?


In the REAL world we would have political activists with an anti-Police agenda being elected to their Police Authority. These would hamper the Police and interfere when they acted in a way contrary to their tenets. As example take those left-wing Councils which refused the Police access to schools within their LEA. Just imagine if Councillors who were pro-drugs or part of the Race Relations Industry, or even sympathetic to Al Qaeda were at loggerheads with the Police in their area and actively worked against them. There could be the ridiculous situation of the Police being given a free hand to act against criminals in a Conservative Borough but hampered in an adjoining Labour one. The Law should be applied equally and impartially throughout the land and the Police should not be politicised.

I agree with Jacqui Smith for once in dropping this silly idea.

If anything they should abolish all the separate Constabularies with their Chief Constables and have a unified National Police Force with four specialist divisions, Traffic, General Crime, Financial and Security.

Smith has a very good reason for not trusting the electorate to vote rationally, it is based on the most solid of evidence - that evidence is our current government !!

Seriously though, I disagree about a post only being open to serving officers. If that is what the post requires, then it is the wrong post. A post is required that is open to anyone who the electorate may want to elect.

Police officers should do their duty with out fear of favour - thinking about being elected to a top post in future may damage that integrity.

Steve Foley - A national police force is the very last thing that I want.

I'd fight against it tooth and nail.

Policing is not about enforcing the governments will on the population - policing is performed by consent, the closer the police are to the policed then the more relevant the policing will be and the better supported the local police will be.

Personally, I have always found 'elected police chiefs' to be a handy campaigning/debating tool to help answer the question of what Conservative policies are or to set out makes our party different from Labour. It chimes with the themes of trust, hope and change!

Steve Foley seems to think that voters would vote for 'political activists with an anti-police agenda'. Is there any evidence for this astonishing assertion? I can't think of a single person I know who would vote for such people so what makes you think such people would manage to secure a popular mandate?

Just to make a tangental point that Ms Smith, although talking utter rubbish about Conservatives when it appears she may have been the problem, never the less gets away with it as a serious reason for her actions and digs at the Tories. Grieve's comments do not even recognise that.

What a great idea! Why don't we have elected senior civil servants, judges and generals, too?

Thank you RichardJ @ 11.50 - It made me laugh, but not roll on the floor!

Just to make a tangental point that Ms Smith, although talking utter rubbish about Conservatives when it appears she may have been the problem, never the less gets away with it as a serious reason for her actions and digs at the Tories. Grieve's comments do not really recognise that, presumably because he can't imagine anyone taking her seriously, and is an example of why Brown is bouncing.

"Steve Foley seems to think that voters would vote for 'political activists with an anti-police agenda'. Is there any evidence for this astonishing assertion? "

Indeed there is, don't you remember the likes of Derek Hatton, Ted Knight, and MPs such as Dave Nellist and Terry Fields and many "Loony Left" Councils. These were ELECTED they did not march on the Town Hall and seize it.

To me policing is about enforcing the Law for the benefit of the Law Abiding Citizens and the protection of them and their property, preventing crime where possible and apprehending the Law Breakers and delivering them to the Courts for Trial and Sentence. Not everyone "consents" to all Laws, I totally disagree with the present anti-Smoking Laws in respect of Pubs and Clubs etc, but everyone including myself has to obey them or suffer the consequences.

How about making government democratically accountable too whilst we're on ?

Like for instance making government legally accountable for the manifesto it makes which todate has never included their plans for Europe ?

Fundamental changes to our national sovereignty always need the blessing of the electorate so this "You elect me to make judgements on your behalf" nonsense can be put to bed.

The Labour Party made no such judgement on my behalf or for 65% of the population like me who didn't vote for it !

National sovereignty is NOT a party issue it is a people issue !

"Like for instance making government legally accountable for the manifesto it makes which todate has never included their plans for Europe ?"

FFS, can we keep Europe out of this thread?

What point is there to making plans for local democracy in police operatives when Blair's red lines are going to disappear along with the democracy ?

So the answer is no, we can't keep Europe out of it because it is in everything we do.

I'm not surprised that their maifesto to date, has not included "their plans for Europe", "rugfish". Perhaps even Labour, have some degree of shame? No, I very much doubt it!

I still get the impression that many people regard localism as some kind of populist threat? Furthermore, some effective implementation of localist policies would probably reduce voter apathy, and increase the electoral turnout in the longer term.

Posted by: Julian L Hawksworth | December 18, 2008 at 13:47

I totally agree, but I'm also minded that our national democracy is not up to scratch either and that surely needs to be too in order to at least allow people to feel part of decision making.

I'm sure many could go through the ages with the number of crass stupid and breathtakingly undemocratic decisions which have been made by govt's, none of which have been put to the people in a manifesto.

I think it is clearly the case why this has created apathy and the perception of neither party being that much different from the other.

Julian Hawkesworth:
"I still get the impression that many people regard localism as some kind of populist threat?"
Clearly this is the case. On the R4 1.00pm news I heard assorted politicos whining about the prospect of undesirables being elected as local police chiefs - it's always the BNP they mention, but clearly they are very, very disturbed by the prospect of anyone being elected whom they do not consider to be a safe pair of hands. One of these vermin actually stated openly that there could be a political safeguard, as he thought of it, against the "wrong type" being elected, via a repeat election! Now where have I heard that before...Er, might it conceivably have been to do with the Ireland/EU "No" vote..?
I see no difficulty at all in comparatively small areas (US counties spring to mind) electing their own chiefs of police, of whatever persuasion the electorate likes; it's they who will have to live with the consequences. Where larger areas are concerned, then (as with the whole country IMV) the "safeguard" should be in the form of a written constitution that permanently and indissolubly circumscribes the political power of any elected official, from the PM to the local dog-catcher.

Steve Foley @1336 would have a significant point if the idea of these partially-elected bodies was to make their own laws to supplant those that already exist nationally.

It isn't: they are to prioritise, target, and to respond to on-the-ground provided info so that they are more in tune with a particular area's needs and levels of urgency than any "one size fits all" approach can ever be in isolation.

If some areas of the country end up electing the "wrong" kinds of people to their own police authorities, that will soon show up in worsening crime figures and a reaction from the community-at-large. The next time these bods come up for election, one would expect them to be chucked out, which isn't how the present system of appointments operates.

I'd say that makes the idea of elected members of these bodies vastly superior (though obviously not perfect, but what is?) and certainly worth trialling at least.

The Labour Ministers preaching about "undesirables", should be asked to explain exactly who these "undesirables" are, otherwise they should STF up.

Let them come forward and tell us who they deem "undesirable" in this "we are all equal except those who disagree with us" country they made full of "undesirables" !

Although John Ward addresses Steve Foley's points well (emphasising that democracy is the least worst option), I still fail to see the rationale for his argument that there is a remote likelihood of electing people committed to dismantling the police.

This country has suffered from a democratic deficit for too long. This is part of the reason we are on our way to hell in a hand cart. So I say bring some democratic accountability to the police and other publicly funded institutions. Too many of the latter have happily lived off the taxpayer whilst ignoring the taxpayer's legitmate concerns and wishes.

I am all for elected Sherriffs, and a Parish centenraire and an annual vote to diselect at least ten thousand civil servants every year to keep them up to the mark.

The police should be made more acountable. I had my car searched and really resent it. The Lib dems stand for more freedom, and have stupendous momentum, onward to victory!!!. It's an excriting time to be a lib dem.

Gloy Plopwell (shome mishtake shurely):
"The Lib dems stand for more freedom"
Ho ho! That's the spirit, full of Christmas jollity. More freedom? You are a merry little prankster. Whenever the LDs gain any semblance of power on local authorities etc they revert to types, which is anal, intolerant, collectivist control-freakery.

Happy Christmas Gloy and may your infectious "excritment" continue in 2009 - even if there will not be much for the Lib Dems to get "excrited" about!

Disgraceful Labour spin. Trying to blame their cock-up on the Conservative party. Have you noticed with Brown's Labour everything is somebody elses fault, never theirs. Its the fault of the US, Tories etc etc.

The Labour proposal involved electing an element to the police authority not a directly elected chief as we proposed. The Labour proposal was unpopular with her own party. It was a dogs dinner and it was bound to fail.

I not sure that I understand Jackboot Jacqui's logic -In the case of Boris she seems to be saying that you can have local control as long as you don't disagree with us. Don't get me started on the Damian Green part.

However the whole idea of elected police boards was doomed from the outset. Policing is not sorted to some sort of school governor type arrangement.

What is neded is responsible devolved government that can look after policing.

I'm not sure about elected police commissioners or chief constables. Might this lead to further politicisation of the police? Would there only be a small turnout in such elections as there is in local elections, and could such so-called 'democratisation' of the police bring the danger of the police being manipulated by politically motivated minorities for their own ends? Surely the answer to restore confidence is for Westminster politicians to ensure the police are depoliticised, are free from red-tape and from having to pursue political correctness, in order to concentrate on catching criminals - that is surely what the public wants!

Cannot Praguetory remember the GLC? A nice moderate man called Macintosh was the Leader of the Labour Party on the GLC and they were duly elected to run London. Oh dear, Red Ken and his cohorts held a putsch and he was replaced by some rather hard line lefties and the rest we know. Some anti-police type is unlikely to state that openly but to take off the Mr or Mrs Nice Guy mask once elected.

As to local variations in the Police approach, a crime is a crime. I don't do drugs but were I to smoke a spliff in public then that is an offence be it in Surbiton, Reading, Southampton, Scarborough or anywhere else I tend to visit and I would expect to be arrested and charged by the Police in the same manner.

Dixon of Dock Green has been dead for a long time and we need a modern unified centralised National Police Force to deal with crime and terrorism. Sue Doughty has got it right, the Police are responsible to an Elected Home Secretary and that is enough.

Steve, I totally agree with you and yes, I too remember the Nice Mr MacIntosh!! I wonder how many others here recall the knifing by Comrade Ken?

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