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.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

The secret diary of a Police & Crime Commissioner (aged 64½)

Day one (22 November 2012)

What a week! So many supporters to thank for their hard work, tramping the streets delivering leaflets on wet November evenings & weekends! I said to my agent I would damned (and probably excommunicated) if we didn’t shift the container full of pallets of glossy paper despatched to me by HQ. All credit to party’s campaign director for persuading G2FO to sponsor the print run, must have cost a small fortune. Still they had a lot of guilt to assuage and good books to get back into after their disastrous handling of the World Championship Regatta. Of course only a few people know of the deal, their FD will hide the expense in the marketing budget. Thank heavens (and my bank balance) for clever accountants everywhere, that’s what I say!

We delivered 490,000 leaflets and 118,126 voted – that is a remarkable success. I regard the election turnout of 15.1%, a whole 5.2% more than one prediction, as a clear vote of confidence in the post of Police & Crime Commissioner. And my 25,256 first preference votes coupled with the resounding approval of the 35,544 second preference votes have given me a clear mandate to implement my manifesto. I am so happy for the people of Northfordwestshire. They have elected, frankly, a superb first PCC. I will be the voice of the people, all of the people. At least I will certainly say that when I come to swear my oath.

I am already instructed my PA to start inviting the great and the good of Nfw’shire to a canapés and champagne reception to observe and honour me taking the oath. But I still can’t quite decide whether to ask the Lord Lieutenant, the Bishop or the lead singer from the local boy band to swear me in. I’ll drop the Home Office a line to see who they had in mind. Must get the press along as well, though not little wotsit from the Maxwellian Telegraph who kept banging on about my investments in the Cayman Islands and some mines in West Africa. I told him it was none of his damn business and the diamonds round my wife’s neck were bought in Shatner’s some years ago.

The Chief Constable seems to be rather up himself. I detected the whisker of a raised eyebrow at the count when the final turnout was announced. Nobody ever voted for him of course. And from what I hear on the grapevine he has one or two skeletons (or should I say naked bodies) in his cupboard. Still, he has told me he is shooting off to warmer climes. Which means I get to select one of us to replace him. Must put the word out to party HQ to find me someone with the …er, shall we say ‘right’ track record…

Of course I will give the new chap or chapess a 2¾ year contract to keep them on their toes. Then I will have the option, depending on how the land lies for next election, to keep or dump the person or inflict a legacy appointment on my successor if it looks likely to be an opposition win.

It is straight forward really. These are rules of PCC club:

1. No one talks about PCC club
2. Compliance is more important than performance
3. Help party successor but not so much that they outshine me
4. Do everything to screw up the opposition
5. While noting impact on crime and safety, still do everything to screw up the opposition

I am rather pleased with the following decision matrix I have constructed as to what to do when the new Chief’s contract comes up for renewal around February 2016:

Anyway, I now need to start my key and number one strategy to tackle crime: sell off all the remaining police houses and as many of the buildings and pieces of land we own. This ‘family copper’ (as it were) will help me fulfil my promise to reduce the council tax precept whilst at the same time (magically) maintaining frontline numbers – well at least giving the impression of maintaining frontline numbers. I will get the whiz financial person in my office to start doing the numbers.

And of course my second priority is to organise my Chain of Office. I am honestly surprised the Home Office did not legislate for that. If the Chief Officers are going to ponce around with all their braid on their collars, I am going to have a big fat chain with a crest on it. Just so that they know, I am the elected boss around here!

I suppose I need to have a look through the draft policing plan, if only to know how much of it I will want to scrap. But more about that soon, dear diary.

  • Day one
  • Day two
  • Day three
  • Day four
  • Day five
  • Day six

  • Welcome memo from Chief
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