The Great Debate UK

Party political policing


–Laurence Copeland is a professor of finance at Cardiff University Business School. The opinions expressed are his own.–

I hope I am proved wrong, but I am afraid that the decision to introduce elected police commissioners will turn out in the long term to be the most damaging of all the stupid things this incompetent Government is doing. It is a fear that has been reinforced by the leaflet shoved through my door on the eve of the election. At the top, it has a bright red band reading “From…., your Labour Police and Crime Commissioner candidate” and a matching red ribbon at the bottom says “Vote Labour Thursday 15th November”.

To add insult to injury, the back page has a large headline: “I will keep politics out of policing” with a few lines about the wonderful things the clown in question will do, followed by a short piece under a headline that reads “Unfair Tory cuts mean…”.

For over a century, there has been agreement on the need to do everything possible to keep politics out of policing and, while there have been many cases when the police have proved incompetent, negligent, even corrupt, for the most part they have remained above politics. To insulate them totally is impossible, but the current arrangements can at least be said not to encourage politicisation.