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.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The paradox of impartiality

I have been mulling on the Thames Valley Police Authority policy on impartiality following my blog post from yesterday. Here it is again, as quoted to Balvinder Bains:

‘When acting in their capacity as a Police Authority member, members must avoid any action which is or might reasonably be perceived as being supportive of any party, candidate or opinion, and must avoid putting themselves, the Authority or the Force in a position or situation which could be used by a party or a candidate in support of their campaign’

Please can someone explain to me how it is possible to be a candidate and be a member of the Police Authority simultaneously? Because as soon as you say or reference the fact that you are a member, you are acting in the capacity of being a member. As soon as any of your campaign literature mentions the fact that you are a member, you will be reasonably perceived as being supportive of your own candidacy. If you mention, in writing or in speech, that you are a member of the Police Authority you will be putting the yourself and Authority together in your campaign...

So in what parallel universe, was it possible for Cllr Anthony Stansfeld to have complied with this policy on impartiality whilst remaining a member of the Police Authority?

Equally, how can the Police Authority maintain the existence of this policy whilst one of their own is a party political candidate? It is paradoxical, in my view.

Please can someone resolve the paradox for me?

If this policy has legal power (which the word 'must' would suggest and it is not just a courteous appeal by the PA to play fair), then has the law been broken? Has anyone committed a criminal act? Should the election be declared null and void as of now, and we start over?

These are the questions I will be raising with the Electoral Commission and Home Office next week.

No comments:

Post a Comment