Of course there were many people who said the legislation was poorly drafted, and the Home Office had not done enough to publicise and inform people about the election... yada yada. But of course, I knew that the Government knew exactly what it was doing. The legislation was made to look amateurish (for example) just so that people would not scrutinise too much. Hidden in its words were some very clever clauses.
For example the law says that the PCC "must consult the relevant chief constable before issuing or varying a police and crime plan if, and to the extent that, the plan or variation is different from the draft prepared in accordance with subsection (6)."
The simple people will have read this and thought that just sounds nice and polite: the PCC has to work with the Chief Constable and all will be hunky dory. But of course the wiser people like me will have spotted to two key aspects to this. It is only about consulting the Chief Constable. I can still completely ignore what the Chief says! (Unlike, as it happens what the Home Office says as the law there is more crunchy: "In issuing or varying a police and crime plan, a police and crime commissioner must have regard to the strategic policing requirement issued by the Secretary of State under section 37A of the Police Act 1996." ...note the "must have regard to" bit!)
And secondly, because I have consulted the CC, I can blame him/her for when it all goes belly up! Rather like when that Entwhistle chap at the BBC resigned over the Newsnight programme.
It will be exactly the same with my tenure. If it all goes well and the plan that Winger is working on (mental note: have not heard from him for a few days mind you - hope he hasn't got too pally with that Chief Superintendent in charge of planning what not) achieves all the results we hope for, then I will claim the credit. If it goes wrong and crime stops falling (for example) then I can blame the Chief Constable. I will be saying that it was his/her operational command that led to the poor results etc etc etc....
I win either way. Bliss! (That is what I call 'clever' legislation...)
And as for people being ill informed... well tough. There was enough news coverage. Some people clearly did not have the blasted gumption to go and find out more about it! It is not for government to spoon feed people after all.
As it happened, this is what we wanted, of course. Heaven forbid that we had a democracy where every low life voted! Who knows who we would get elected then!!
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