But suffice to say that this is another example of where the behaviour of a PCC has, at the very least, raised questions about honesty, probity and integrity. There are a number of other examples, some mentioned on this blog of course. And, I have been told, there is another big story to break soon but I have no more details (really, I don't!)
If I were to be cynical, it does seem to be possible that if you come from a certain social or political class, then you can merely say sorry, pay any money back, claim it was all a big mistake and nobody seems to worry that much (well sort of...)
The public have the right to expect only the highest ethical standards from all PCCs and indeed anyone working for the police service, especially those in senior positions. So how did we get to this parlous state of affairs where people almost expect those in such positions to be doing something dodgy? Who is responsible?
- First and foremost those responsible must include those who have been, shall I be polite, economic with the attention they have placed upon their financial affairs.
- The media too, have maybe over-egged it a bit as well (and perhaps I have been guilty of this as well... although dressing up as a chauffeur was rather fun..!) and so we, the tweeting / blogging / writing media, carry some of the responsibility
- And (this is where I risk a flurry of comments), perhaps the public as well. I am not saying that we, as the public, should not expect higher standards of those in power than we expect of ourselves because I think we should. (But please note, I do think we all have responsibility to act ethically.) However, I do think many people shift automatically into blaming everyone in such and such a group (such as all politicians, PCCs, bankers etc) rather than look at the individuals involved. In other words, I think the public (and I include myself here) can be guilty of ethical generalisations and we are being unfair to the majority of that group who are probably busily working hard to do what they have to do... (And this counts for other groups who are pilloried as well such as Eastern European immigrants to people claiming benefits etc)
As a blogger, I can, perhaps, be more circumspect and forgiving too. I fundamentally believe that people have the right to make mistakes and be allowed to move on with their lives. And I will apply that principle to all, not just those in leadership positions.
And as a member of the public, I can be responsible for not damning whole sections of people who happen to share a label of some kind or another. (And I know that I have not always done this but I think I am going to try and change...)
So will you join me in this small campaign against prejudice?