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, October 27, 2012

Bleeting into oblivion (UPDATED)

My wife sometimes shakes her head in despair at me and tells me I have been bleeting (her word) far too much. When I explain that blogging and tweeting is just something that I have to do... she looks even more worried.

Anyway, in an idle moment today, I have been flitting around looking at other blogs that are focused on the PCC elections and came across this piece on Bernard Rix's site which analyses PCC rankings for both twitter and facebook:
NOTES: Tim Ashton’s follower numbers were 229 last week. I have drawn his attention to the growth in numbers, and am awaiting his comment on any background to this.
Mr Ashton's twitter following has now grown to 5744, putting him second only to John Prescott in the twitter ranking list. This Tory candidate for Lancashire was ranked at 72 last week.

This is curious. This is not a dissimilar pattern to our friend in Lincolnshire, who has stepped down (see below) but who also experienced a dramatic rise in twitter followers a few weeks ago.

So I am looking forward to any information forthcoming from him or Bernard Rix. Could we back in the territory of buying twitter followers (is there a Grant someone on Ebay?)

But meanwhile, let's spend a moment reviewing Mr Ashton's 'Ten Point Plan'

1. Replace all the targets that have been imposed on the police with one target: to cut crime! (so all that stupid stuff about public order, reassurance, anti social behaviour etc. can stop under Mr Ashton's leadership. And I assume the Home Office will comply by removing all checks on Lancashire Police performance the HMIC won't need to stop by either...)
2. Protect frontline policing and retain the number of Police & Community Support Officers (PCSOs). (So may we assume that he doesn't plan on retaining the numbers of police officers? What is he protecting frontline policing from? The back office, the Home Secretary or himself?)
3. Get more police on our streets by cutting the red tape that keeps them behind a desk. (Give me a break! This is such a tired old line. If the Lancs public fall for this one they will deserve to have Mr Ashton as their PCC. How is he, as PCC, going to do this exactly given that arguably the major cause of 'red tape' is applying due process to case preparation required by the CPS. How many Government task forces have tried to tackle this one? Go Mrs May, I dare you to initiate another one!)
4. Put more resources into tackling drug dealers and organised crime across Lancashire. (So where will you take these resources from?)
5. Root out waste in the Police Force to make sure more of your money is spent on policing in your area. (Collision with National Crime Agency here we come....!)
6. Zero tolerance of all crime and make sure more offenders are brought to justice. (Yeah, right, I have heard that the Lancashire police are bit soft on criminals and are letting lots of them off with a few choice words like Dixon of Dock Green)
7. Toughen up community sentences so there is no more ‘softly softly’ when it comes to punishment. (Um... is that in the set of powers a PCC has?)
8. Encourage greater use of the latest technology by the police to cut crime and catch more criminals. (So that's just 'encourage' then, not fund?) 
9. Focus road safety activity on the areas where there are the most accidents. (Again, is that in the brief of the PCC? I thought road safety was a County Council responsibility...?)
10.Involve the public in setting priorities for policing in their communities including rural areas. (Isn't that what PCCs are meant to be all about? I am surprised there isn't an eleventh point about his promise to set a financially viable precept.)

So it seems as if here is another Tory PCC candidate who is committed to Shakespeare: it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. This seems to be general approach being taken by Conservative candidates in this election. But if you know better and can point me towards a Tory candidate who is comprehensively

a) making promises that he/she can actually keep
b) matching the manifesto to the job description (in the law)
c) avoiding platitudes and statements of the bloomin' obvious

... then please do!


Just been on the Fake Follower Check site. First I checked my own account:

So that is a 'woo hoo!'

And then I checked @Tim4LancsPCC out of idle curiosity. Here is the result:

Not so woo hoo then...


  1. "But if you know better and can point me towards a Tory candidate who is comprehensively

    a) making promises that he/she can actually keep
    b) matching the manifesto to the job description (in the law)
    c) avoiding platitudes and statements of the bloomin' obvious

    ... then please do!"


    1. What the one that says this:

      Michael's Priorities

      My overriding priority will be to ensure that the people of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight get the police service they deserve, and for which they pay. I shall fight for appropriate funds from central government, while acknowledging that these are difficult financial times for us all. In making decisions about the budget I shall confer with the Chief Constable and the four authorities – Hampshire; Isle of Wight; Portsmouth; Southampton. I shall strive with the Home Office and the Treasury to ensure that the importance of good and efficient policing is recognised appropriately in the budgets set.

      My focus will be on reducing crime, catching criminals, protecting the vulnerable and making our streets safe. To achieve this in difficult times, there must be more efficient use of scarce resources, with the accent on getting experienced, well trained officers out of offices and in touch with the public.

      If I must choose between competing priorities, my choice will be:

      All crimes of violence
      All crimes involving alcohol and drugs
      Rural crime.

      In addition to these, I would like to see the fear of crime allayed. It is this which often causes our citizens to believe that their police service is not doing its best.

      just peachy!