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, January 16, 2016

The party conversation that confirms it (Secret PCC)

Picture the scene: Saturday evening drinks at my wife's cousin's place. Slim glass of pop in hand, cheese & chutney sandwich in the other (again)...

Me: Harry, my old sport, how the dashed are you?

Harry: Fine old chum. What you up to these days?

Me: I'm still running the police.

Harry: Still running from the police?! You're not that Basil chap are you? Got all those jewels stuffed inside your teapot?

Me: No. I am still running the police. You know, you helped me deliver some leaflets a few years ago. I'm the Police & Crime Commissioner.

Harry: The what?

Me: Single-handedly I am responsible for administering the governance of the Police Service here in North Ford West Shire.

Harry: Sounds very grand. Do you get expenses with that? And have you got one of those detachable blue lights to stick to the top of your car when you need to get home a bit quicker...? You say I helped you deliver leaflets... hmm... I thought that was for a council position. All lost in a bit of blur, I am afraid. So you won then?!

Me: Yes.

Harry: So is that it? Are you this police thingamajig for good now? You know like that chap Scargill: President of the Police for life?

Me: No. There are elections in May. I am trying to decide whether to stand again...

Harry: You want more leaflets delivered?

Me: I don't think so. I am probably not going to stand again...

Harry: Why not. Are the expenses no good? Didn't you have a chauffeur?

Me: Gordon is my coach who happens to drive me places. He's a wonder. But no, that's not the reason..

Harry: Well what is the reason then?

Me: I am not sure I can take the starlight of celebrity much longer, the being mobbed in the streets by people desperately wanting to talk to me about policing strategy, the flash photography outside the Home Office, the paparazzi at my home...

Harry: Gosh!

Me: I am being sarcastic Harry. I don't think most people even know I exist...

Harry: I know you exist, old bean. Don't talk like that. I am sure what you do makes a real difference. Now I must go and get myself one of those cheese and chutney sandwiches: they look rather tasty if a little bit tricky to handle...


The Secret PCC Diary until now:

Legal disclaimer: just in case you thought this series of secret PCC blogs is based upon a real person or persons: it isn't. It really isn't. Any similarity to a living PCC is entirely coincidental.

Friday, January 15, 2016

The Secret PCC: should I stand again?

Well, well, well.

It has been a long three and bit years. In a way, it has gone by as quickly as a South African innings. And here we are, in the run up to the May elections which frankly I thought I would not have to think about. But against predictions, the Tories won a majority and now I am stuck with having to make a decision on whether to stand again. So I thought I would do a balance sheet, working through all the pros and cons to help me decide...

On the plus side:

The power.

The power!

The unaccountable powerrrr! (I like to delude myself sometimes) I think I may have some smidgeon of influence over the colour of the cells in the new custody suite that I commissioned. I say I commissioned... but the plans were pretty already drawn up by the time I arrived.

But on the down side:

I have seen enough sandwich lunches to last me and my waistline a lifetime. I have become quite an expert in holding cheese and chunky chutney sandwiches and a glass of orange juice, without spilling the chutney down my suit. It's a rare skill but one I have now perfected. But do I want any more sandwiches... ever?

The bounciness of senior coppers has to be seen to be believed. Honestly, it is so bloomin' tiring. They are like chipmunks on speed. Always some new strategy for this. Partnership plan for that. Yet another power point presentation on some whizzo idea they picked up on their trip to the police department in Oklahoma. I could well have had enough...

Partnership meetings. Oh good grief. What can you say about them except that I might like to spend some of my retirement watching paint dry. It would be more entertaining. And interesting. I used to have partnership zeal: they were the future! But now I only have partnership weal: proto pressure sores from sitting too long in these tedious meetings, massaging the egos of different heads of this or that.

And then there's the Police and Crime Panel. I think I am going to do a PhD in nit nit picky picky pettiness: I now indeed, do have plenty of material. Try as I might to keep them focused on me (yes me!) they still insisted on trying to hold the Chief Constable to account. Even though I told them until I was blue in the face that was my job... they still wanted to scrutinise the decisions on the new siren sounds and colour of the cells in the new custody suite...

Hmm. I think I have made my decision... I will miss the team of course: my chief executive, my aromatherapist, my astrological adviser, my part time press adviser and Gordon, my trusted coach and chauffeur. What could I have done without him...!

So, now I have start making my plans for my last 100 days... what will I need to do?


The Secret PCC Diary until now:

Legal disclaimer: just in case you thought this series of secret PCC blogs is based upon a real person or persons: it isn't. It really isn't. Any similarity to a living PCC is entirely coincidental.