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, October 16, 2012

Vanity blue flashing lights? (UPDATED)

30 days from now the Police & Crime Commissioner elections will be over and the new PCCs will have been elected. With predicted low turnouts and the supplementary voting system, it is impossible to predict who will win these contests around the country.

Although I am sure that the candidates have analysed past voting patterns in their areas and are feeling more or less confident that they will be the victors...

From what I have been told, it would appear that Cllr Anthony Stansfeld has already organised a car and driver for the incoming PCC. That could point to a brazen act of self confidence that it will be him in the passenger seat (has he selected the car make and colour?) or an act of generosity with other people's money for whomever is elected and to help them on their way so that they can hit the ground 'running'.

I am about to write to Thames Valley Police Authority to seek confirmation on this matter. So please watch this space.

Now I could argue that having a car and driver does make some sense as Thames Valley is a huge area to cover and the PCC will need to get out and about and be able to optimise the use of their time. However, it is my understanding that police chief officers have (pool?) cars that can be used as pursuit cars and are equipped to fulfil operational functions as well. Their expense is partly justified on that basis.

The PCC's car clearly won't have such features (I presume - operational independence and all that...) so will it be just for the PCC?

At times of extreme austerity & cuts of over 20%, is this a good use of public money?


I have just had this email back from TVPA (again impressed by the speed!):
Dear Mr Harvey
A part of the briefings offered to four of the prospective PCC candidates in the last week of September, one of the agenda matters discussed with all candidates was whether there were any specific requirements that they, if successful, would need to operate effectively (e.g. transport, office equipment, etc).
Two candidates (including Anthony Stansfeld) did express a desire for some form of transport facility to enable them to effectively cover the Thames Valley force area.  
The other two candidates had not identified at that stage any specific requirements.
Following these discussions, I can confirm that I consider it appropriate that temporary arrangements may be put in place to ensure that transport facilities will be available to whichever candidate is elected PCC, if they wish to use them, pending their future decisions about ongoing permanent arrangements for their Office support infrastructure requirements.
That is the position of this Authority regardless of what you may hear from any candidate and/or their supporters who, obviously, cannot themselves take ‘decisions’ that would entail a financial or operational commitment being incurred on behalf of the Authority now, or the Office of the PCC in the future, until they are actually elected as PCC.
I think you would agree that this represents a reasonable and sensible plan of action to cover all eventualities.  At this time, however, no arrangements, permanent or temporary, have been made and until I know what the ongoing requirements of the successful elected PCC are then I am not in a position to state what the potential annual costs of such arrangements would be.
Paul Hammond
Chief Executive & Treasurer
Thames Valley Police Authority
I think that is very clear and I am grateful to Mr Hammond for this explanation. You can decide whether "you would agree that this represents a reasonable and sensible plan of action to cover all eventualities" ... or not. But let us see what happens after election. 

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