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.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Innovation & evaluation

One of the ideas that Tim Starkey is promoting is the need to look for fresh ways to tackle such issues as internet and telephone fraud. He makes the case that older (perhaps more trusting) people, people with dementia and other other vulnerable people are the ones who are often being taken for a ride by the tricksters*. He has identified that postal workers often have a sense of who is being exploited by the kinds (and volume) of mail certain households receive. Tim is keen to see if the dots can be joined up so that helpful advice on avoiding fraud can be targeted at people who maybe most at risk.

It seems to me to be a good idea and certainly one that is worth exploring further.

Last night at the hustings in Oxford, I happened to be sitting behind the Chief Fire Officer for Oxfordshire: Dave Etheridge. We got talking. He outlined for me a scheme that they are running in Thame (??) whereby local young people convicted of a motoring offence are sent to this fire station for a couple of hours. During this time they are (safely) placed in a burnt out car and 'cut out' by a fire crew. They are then shown a pretty graphic film about a car accident. All the while, the firefighters get to know the young person and what interests them. So far, he told me, they have had a 100% success rate such that none of the young people who have been on a visit have gone on to commit any more motoring offences. (They are carefully evaluating the intervention, I understand.)

So here's the thing: will PCCs see it as a critical part of their role to support and sponsor such innovations or are the of the view that not much needs to really change? Yes, I am talking about you Anthony Stansfeld... "If elected, I don't think there are going to be any great changes in policing." (Conservative Home blog)

So when you come to cast your vote now or on the day, will you vote for a PCC who is keen on innovation & evaluation or one that wants to conserve the status quo?

* Though let's be clear, we can all be duped!


  1. Anonymous9/11/12 21:53

    Thanks for your tireless and forensic efforts . Could I ask a question? Is it illegal to deface a ballot paper? I don't know how to register dissatisfaction with this entire charade and feel that not voting simply isn't sufficient! Welcome your advice.

    1. Thanks for your feedback - much appreciated

      Re the legality of spoiling a ballot paper, it is my understanding that it is not against the law. But I am checking with a reliable source. But this (reliable?) site says it is not illegal:

    2. Hi anonymous again. My reliable source has come back to me and says "It is not an offence to spoil, but is to remove ballot paper from polling station. People should, of course, steer clear of libel, threats etc"

      I trust her judgement so I believe that yes, you can spoil the ballot paper without risk of prosecution so long as you a mindful of what you say.

      But please read my post from today above before you go ahead with this course of action...