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.

Monday, September 29, 2014

So what is UKIP's policy on Police & Crime governance?

The bubbling news over the weekend, as the Conservative Party sat down to pray in Birmingham, is that Mark Reckless has done a Daniel Carswell... and joined UKIP. Following the Clacton by election where polls are suggesting that Mr Carswell will be elected as the town's UKIP MP, there will now be a by election in Rochester & Strood as well. It is too early to say whether Mr Reckless (a notable member of the Home Affairs Select Committee) is likely to be elected or not. I would imagine that the Conservative Party will be throwing quite a few kitchen sinks at both constituencies in forthcoming days and weeks.

Now, it is most interesting, as far as this blog is concerned, that both of these men are architects of the Police & Crime Commissioner based governance system. The other main people (culprits?) are Dan Hannan MEP and Nick Herbert MP. (I imagine the whips will be seeking them out in coming days too.)

So this got me wondering what the UKIP party's policy is on police & crime governance. It is difficult to 'nail down' UKIP policy when it seems so changeable of course. (What happened to the 'wag tax' as it was dubbed on Friday?)

So I went first to the official UKIP website. Given that they have just had their conference, I expected this to be a good source of guidance. They appear to have 'issues' rather than 'policies'. They have one section entitled: Safeguard Against Crime, which has the following 'issues':
  • No cuts to front line policing.
  • Make sentences mean what they say.
  • No votes for prisoners - that’s what losing your liberty means.
  • Prevent foreign criminals entering the UK - by re-introducing border controls that the EU forced us to abandon.
  • Scrap the European Arrest Warrant, which sends British citizens to foreign jails without evidence, just to answer questions - replace it with a proper extradition system.
  • Remove the UK from the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights. 
Naturally, anything with a 'European' tag is anathema to UKIP which accounts for 3 of these 6 'issues'. Arguably, since it was a ECHR decision, the third issue is also part of the European thing. Which just leaves us with the first two: no cuts to frontline policing. I think we can dismiss this as mere motherhood & apple pie since all political parties will say no cuts to the frontline (even though that is, of course, what happens when you reduce budgets as fast as they have been in recent years...)

And so we are left with making sentences mean what they say. I have never read a full custodial sentence delivered by a judge but I would hazard a guess they contain all the words necessary to either state explicitly or implicitly clearly reference the precise legal implications of the sentence. In other words, they already mean what they say. So frankly I have no idea what this 'issue' statement means other than to trigger (without actually saying such) thoughts as 'life should mean life' etc. Indeed this is typical of UKIP statements, they often hint rather than state what they mean on the basis that keeping things vague leaves them plenty of room for manoeuvre.

So, in terms of policy on policing, there isn't much. So I thought I would check out the latest UKIP candidate for the forthcoming PCC by election in South Yorkshire. He has been named as UKIP councillor Jack Clarkson. He is a former Lib Dem councillor and was a police officer from 1976 to 2006. He is now on record for saying "Only UKIP can guarantee that political correctness will not get in the way of investigating crimes and only UKIP can promise one law for all".


So exactly how will this guarantee and promise work? I hope someone asks him this at a hustings sometime soon. 

He also states that it is his "commitment to the people of South Yorkshire that [he] will give them back a police force they can trust, a force that has a more visible presence, with more boots on the ground and more community policing that will safeguard our communities". All stirring stuff and a plan which deserves to be scrutinised for its practicality within the current levels of funding. From where will these 'more boots' come from?

It will be interesting to see what background is dug out about Jack Clarkson and to hear more of his plans and policies. Will he receive the campaign support of the two Conservative architects of the post for which he is seeking election, I wonder?

But meanwhile some more background on him (from LinkedIn):
  • Jack retired from SYP at the rank of Inspector after completing 30 Year’s service.
  • Soon thereafter he became the Rotherham Branch manager for 'Victim Support' assisting and caring for victims of crime. 
  • Jack's area of of expertise surrounds community cohesion, engagement and safety.
  • Jack is now self employed working for companies and private individuals relating to confidential and sensitive security issues (listed in part as: May 2011 to Present - Bespoke investigations on behalf of clients - Business and Private, ranging from Professional witness service to tracing and tracking.)
He also features in a UFO type incident on Howden Moor in March 1997. It would seem he was involved in policing at least part of Rotherham beyond his sojourn in the 80s during the miners' strike.

On January the 10th 2013 Jack Clarkson decided that he would represent the UK Independence party as Town Councillor for Stocksbridge, (as announced by UKIP). This timing is somewhat intriguing as he had been already announced as running mate to the UKIP candidate for the original PCC elections in November 2012. He stood as Lib Dem in May 2012 Sheffield City Council elections. He stood and won as a UKIP candidate in May 2014.

I watch this space and look forward to understanding more about UKIP's approach to policing and its governance...

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous7/3/15 11:13

    "Mark Reckless has done a Daniel Carswell... "

    Who's Daniel Carswell?