The disastrous low turnout in the Police Commissioner elections yesterday has proved the critics right, say Southport Liberal Democrats. People will largely not vote for a position they were never even asked about and never wanted.
“Stuffing thousands of pounds every week into the pockets of failed re-tread politicians is an absolute disgrace,” says Southport Lib Dem Chair, Councillor Tony Dawson. “This will doubtless allow John Prescott to buy his wife Pauline lots of new pairs of shoes if he wins the Humberside vote. It will do nothing for policing or genuine accountability.”
Southport Lib Dems refused to play any part whatsoever in any campaign for a Police Commissar post during the past couple of months. They made this decision in January and resolutely stuck to it, preferring to concentrate on campaigning on local issues such as Labour’s proposed closure of local Libraries.
“A few people will have voted yesterday out of loyalty, friendship or a sense of duty but prevailing opinions have ranged from total disinterest to outright hostility, ” says Councillor Dawson.
“The idea of placing so much power in the hands of one person to meddle in the complicated operations of police forces throughout England and Wales was a ludicrous idea,” he says. “It was demanded by the Conservative ministers in exchange for allowing Lib Dems to do things like lowering income tax for low paid workers and giving real rises to state pensioners.”
Pictured above: David Cameron delivering Police Commissioner leaflets
Former Labour Ministers hoping to supplement their Minister’s pensions with a Police Commissar’s salary bigger than that of an MP include John Prescott, Tony Lloyd and Jane Kennedy.
“Far from introducing democracy or accountability into the process of policing,” says Councillor Dawson, “it has take the power dozens of miles away from many thousands of people who are more likely to be bitten by a badger than ever meet their Police Commissioner.”
“The whole thing was a total nonsense. The Home Secretary should hang her head in shame.”
The Conservatives insisted on these posts being brought in during the ‘horse trading’ of the Coalition negotiations. Lib Dems had to allow them to happen in exchange for getting Lib Dem policies like higher state pensions and tax changes for lower paid workers.
During the past three months, Southport Liberal Democrats have circulated tens of thousands of survey forms across most of the town. One of their fifty-eight questions to Southport residents was about ‘Elected Police Commissioners’. Out of the piles of survey forms returned so far, fewer than 4 per cent of respondents supported the idea of letting a single Liverpool-based person have all this power over Southport’s policing.
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