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, September 16, 2014

PCC: irony (ˈʌɪrəni/)

Regular readers will know that I have referred to Anthony Stansfeld (PCC for Thames Valley) as the gift that keeps on giving. He has not said much of late but the Oxford Mail published an interview with him last Saturday. You can read it all here.

Here are some gems:
Mr Stansfeld said a fall in crime proved PCCs had been a success, but said media coverage often painted them in a bad light. He said: “The vast majority have been a considerable success.”
Yes, you read that correctly: the fall in crime proved PCCs had been a success...! Now to be fair to Mr Stansfeld, the news story does not contain a direct quote on this and perhaps the journalist will need to say exactly what Mr Stansfeld claimed but... it does not look good!

He also asserts, this time with a direct quote given, that the vast majority have been a success without providing any evidence to back up that claim. On what basis have they been a success? As readers know, I believe there have been some successes and I praise the PCCs who are making a difference but "vast majority"... hmm.

He also goes onto say
“What I find ironic is that the profile of PCCs is only raised when something goes wrong.”
Here is a web definition of 'irony':
- the expression of one's meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite, typically for humorous or emphatic effect.("‘Don't go overboard with the gratitude,’ he rejoined with heavy irony")- a state of affairs or an event that seems deliberately contrary to what one expects and is often wryly amusing as a result. ("the irony is that I thought he could help me"- a literary technique, originally used in Greek tragedy, by which the full significance of a character's words or actions is clear to the audience or reader although unknown to the character.
As it happens I think that it is tragically perhaps but clearly inevitable and often wryly amusing that the profile of PCCs is only raised when something goes wrong... And PCCs are probably an example of latter day Greek tragedy in that many of them (and I can think of one or two...) do not know the full significance of their actions and words even though it is bloomin' obvious to the rest of us!

In this sense, Mr Stansfeld is on the money: PCCs are the epitome of irony, perhaps even quintessentially so...

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