This blog is mainly about the governance and future of policing and crime services. (Police & Crime Commissioners feature quite a lot.) But there are also posts about the wider justice system. And because I am town councillor and political activist, local & national issues are covered a little, as well.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Stansfeld mystery (part five)

See all collected posts about this matter in one place by clicking this link

As per my last blog post about the mystery that is Cllr Anthony Stansfeld (the Conservative PCC candidate for Thames Valley), I decided to write to him directly, asking him to shed some light on the two firms with which he appears to have / have had connections: the elusive ‘FIDAS’ (as mentioned by him on the West Berkshire Council register of interests) and ‘Prescience AG’ (as mentioned on his Linked-In account).

His replies were (shall I say) robust and not especially illuminating. I hesitate to bore you with all the details but here are some things that he wrote to me. In reply to my first email he opened with:

“Dear Mr Harvey, I have complied with all requirements of disclosure. My business interests, which have absolutely  nothing to do with either policing or military, which you suggest in your press releases, or also nothing to do with you. You appear to be purely on a political exercise trying to damage my reputation.”

And later in the same email:

“I no longer have anything to do with Prescience, a company that never traded, so was disposed of”

So I wrote back:

“It was when I went looking for more information about FIDAS that I drew a blank. While I am no internet geek, I can usually find what I am looking for on the net. And so I have raised questions in various quarters but I believe I have made no unsubstantiated accusations.  You can clear that matter up now, if you wish. But I note, so far, that you have chosen not to do this. Please allow me to repeat my question: what is the address of FIDAS?”

I have yet to receive a reply to this last question – including in a second email he sent to me. All that the voters of Thames Valley currently know is that FIDAS could be

a) fictional
b) a spelling error
c) another company that also never traded
d) just what Cllr Stansfeld says it is: “a small company that has interests in water systems for agriculture and energy recovery systems for industry” or
e) something else entirely.

Amongst the seven Nolan principles of public life is the idea of “Accountability - holders of public office are accountable for their decisions and actions to the public and must submit themselves to whatever scrutiny is appropriate to their office” [with my added italics]. I note his phrase “nothing to do with you.” Hmm.

I maintain that to merely give a name of a company with no address is not being transparent, it is precisely the opposite.

Cllr Stansfeld may believe that I am the only one asking these questions, but I suspect as we get closer to November 15th, more people will be asking these and other questions too. If you would like to write to Cllr Stansfeld yourself – his various addresses are available from the West Berkshire Council site

Meanwhile I am off to do some more research to see what I more I can find out. Wish me well.

Cllr Stansfeld may be happy to remain a mystery to the voters of Thames Valley. I suspect that many more people will want to know a good deal extra about the person who wishes to become the Police & Crime Commissioner once they fully understand just how much ‘quasi presidential’ power the PCC will wield.

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