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, November 4, 2012

Unsung heroes

I have just returned from helping clear up the flotsam, jetsam & sparklers from last night's Buckingham Town Council firework display. This is one of our Town Council's regular events which attracts between three and four thousand local people. Last night was no different.

It has been raining hard here in Buckingham this morning but out on the field were a dozen bedraggled men and their children from the Buckingham Table clearing this patch of public space. They are some of the unsung heroes of local communities. I cannot speak for the Council of course, but thanks from me.

It is people like this who help bind our communities together. They are the same people who dropped everything to look for April a few weeks ago. And their sisters and brothers sit in innumerable parent teacher association meetings or make egg rolls for the Guide camp. They are the people who do things for others in a billion small acts of kindness and generosity. And they don't expect to be paid for doing so - in fact they would probably be offended if it was offered.

We need these people to sustain and improve the well being of our communities. Policing by consent is not just about people passively accepting what the police do, it is about actively supporting the police service and, indeed, taking action to help build safer communities as well.

Now what happens if the police service is privatised? Will people consent to that? Will the ordinary and unsung heroes of our communities come out on wet mornings to help a private contractor make a bigger profit, that will be scooped up and shipped off to a tax haven somewhere?

I am not sure I will.

This is why I have been blogging about the National Blood and Transplant service and the fact that they, more or less, subsidise private health care providers. This is also why I hope that PCCs get elected who will not roll over and allow our precious police service personnel to be forced to wear corporate logos along with their police crests. And this is why I am applauding the Tories who are (finally) seeing what is happening and resisting this wave of privatisation as in Cornwall and Barnet.

And this is why I am appalled that numerous Tory (and other) PCC candidates who are not addressing the issue on their websites. Are they 'frit' of this issue?

I will be hoping that come 16/11/12, the people of England and Wales will not have installed a whole number of privateers to run our police services. I hope that our long tradition of policing by consent will not be consigned to history.

And I hope that the unsung heroes of communities will carry on picking up rubbish in the driving rain and searching for missing children. 

Let us NOT commodify everything!

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