Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Government's 5-point plan to drive voter turnout into the ground


Did you know that on 15th November 2012, there will be elections in 41 police force areas in England and Wales for Police and Crime Commissioners? No? Neither did His Grace. Being an anorak, he knew they were looming, but nothing of the details.

Anyone who can vote in a local election will be able to vote for the PCC of their choice, and almost anyone who can stand in a local election can stand to be a PCC. His Grace says 'almost anyone', because if you threw a brick through your neighbour's window when he caught you scrumping apples at the age of 14, you're excluded.

The PCC’s key roles will be to set the budget and strategic objectives for the Force and hold the Chief Constable to account.The statutory powers and duties of the PCC will include:
  • Holding the Chief Constable to account for an effective and efficient police service on behalf of communities.
  • Production of a Policing and Crime Plan that sets strategic objectives
  • Setting the policing budget and the Council Tax precept
  • Producing an annual report detailing how the police and crime objectives have been met through the year and what resources have been required to do so.
  • The appointment of the Chief Constable, and dismissal if required.
  • The PCC will have a role in wider community safety issues and will have powers to issue crime and disorder reduction grants
  • The PCC has a duty to consult the public, and will also consider the views of victims when setting police and crime objectives.
The PCC will be held to account by an external “Police and Crime Panel” consisting of local councillors and independent members.

But the Electoral Reform Society has noted that PCC elections threaten to result in the lowest turnout of any nationwide election in British history.They will have cost a whopping £75m, but evidence suggests that we can only hope for a turnout of around 18.5% - the lowest ever.

From the start, the PCC elections have been marred by controversy and now it seems that the Home Office is shirking its responsibility to provide voters with even the most basic information that the elections are even taking place.

The stated purpose of electing Police and Crime Commissioners was to improve accountability and reconnect the public and the police - an aim which is clearly undermined by a painfully low turnout.

The Home Office’s 5-point plan to drive turnout into the ground:
1.    Do not conduct a mail out with information about the elections and the candidates;
2.    Only provide information online so that the 7m people on the electoral roll who don’t regularly access the internet are unlikely to know it's happening;
3.    Set up a helpline but don’t activate it until 23 days before the election is due to take place;
4.    Hold the election in November when no other elections are taking place (research shows that winter elections have significantly lower turnout than those held in summer months);
5.    Include no provisions for information in accessible formats for the blind or partially sighted or information in any other languages.
Additionally, despite the fact that independence and diversity were proclaimed as important features of PCC candidates, unrealistic eligibility rules have meant that strong independent candidates with minor misdemeanours in their teenage years could be excluded. This is in addition to the fact that independent candidates were already hampered by the lack of a funded mail-out since, unlike party candidates, they will have no network of campaigners or party resources behind them to help them reach out to large constituencies.

Conversely, an extremely low turnout could unfairly advantage extremist candidates who would never succeed in winning over a bigger proportion of the electorate.

Katie Ghose, Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society says: "This election is beginning to look like a perfect storm, which could result in the lowest turnout for a national election in British history. Those pulling the strings have not done their homework and as a result this election looks primed to degenerate into a complete shambles. Put simply, if the people elected to localise decision-making over how our streets are policed, do not represent local people, what is the point of having them?”

As His Grace says, the elections for Police and Crime Commissioners are due to take place on 15th November 2012. Please put this date in your diary, lest it become a clean sweep for the Lefty liberals.

14 Comments:

Blogger Sam Chapman said...

Your Grace can find out more about the elections in his own area at http://www.TopOfTheCops.com where we also highlight strange pronouncements from the senior judiciary that Your Grace has found difficult.

18 August 2012 at 09:59  
Blogger English Pensioner said...

Unfortunately, most of the candidates seem to be failed politicians (eg John Prescotte), so there will be no change, just another person whose approval is needed before action can be taken. No doubt they will all toe their party's line and thus will be a total waste of time.

18 August 2012 at 10:23  
Blogger Kinderling said...

Like the church needed to be separated from the state to remove its interference from municiple life, the state needs to be removed from the police so that its integrity as dispassionate arbitors of law is not sullied.
Alas, socialism is not about that, it is about fairness. Thus prisons will soon have to be racially-diverse in order to portray a just society.
From this will come many Putins who now have total control over the police and by default, over the masses.

18 August 2012 at 10:44  
Blogger Bred in the bone said...

You will not catch me voting in these matters or answering to those elected

Our constitution allows the English self determination in a Loyal fashion

My Loyalties are Unquestionable

18 August 2012 at 11:26  
Blogger someday said...

I see that the deposit for candidates (returnable if they gain more than 5% of the vote) is £5000. Seems a bit excessive.

18 August 2012 at 11:51  
Blogger Demetrius said...

The reality promises to be very close to the old "Dukes of Hazzard" series on TV.

18 August 2012 at 12:11  
Blogger non mouse said...

The Government's 5-point plan to drive voter turnout into the ground ... Then it is time to "change" the neu-reformers, Your Grace.

Suggestions:

1) Let Voters DEMAND (not petition) that no candidate (or party) be granted office without winning a given percentage of possible votes (how about something above 50%?).

If that leaves us without government, well that's better than anything we have now. And it might ultimately drive voter turnout up.

2) Find a way to let Voters select candidates. Deprive the (mostly fake) parties of that power.

Meanwhile, I agree with BitB.

18 August 2012 at 17:53  
Blogger David B said...

I think I'd rather see the Humphrey Applebys of this world looking after such things than people elected on a very small turnout that the potential voters know practically nothing about.

David

18 August 2012 at 22:20  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Time was when the local law was whatever the man in the castle said it was.

Then it was whatever the police authority meeting behind closed doors said it was.

Now it might be OUR turn...

There’s consternation a few miles up the road from where the Inspector is sitting. A band of mobile criminal anarchic parasites have turned up. A bit of a mouthful that, so we’ll just call them ‘Travellers’. They’ve pitched at the side of a retail car park. The owners of the site were somewhat irked by this and contacted the police. Only to be told that trespass is not a criminal offence and that they should brief a lawyer with a view to getting a civil court order.

Now, this is all well and good, but here’s the rub. They have already committed damage at the site, which makes it CRIMINAL damage, a misdemeanour no less. They drive around in vehicles that if it could be proved they have no insurance for, can be confiscated and crushed. Does this change matters, and will the police now do something – what do you think ?

In case you susopect the Inspector has a downer on travellers, you’re right, but here’s something for you. In time honoured tradition, when they arrived, local attempted house breaking increased. There have been nine attempts and one successful in one nearby neighbourhood. Of the latter, would you believe an oven was among items stolen !

Here’s the scenario, a shady pub in the town and one man whispers to another “I’ve a spare flat screen for sale, interested”.”No, but I could do with a new oven”...

18 August 2012 at 23:17  
Blogger Kinderling said...

It's like Dumb and Dumber. You vote Conservative and get NuLabour and then argue vote for Commissioner and you get policing for the voter.
If you cannot see this creeping Communism, you will not see creeping Sharia. Both fueled by the confidence of taking candy from a baby.

19 August 2012 at 07:25  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Inspector: "In case you susopect the Inspector has a downer on travellers, you’re right, but here’s something for you."

Me too actually, despite my normal acceptance of diverse lifestyles. Of the dozens of examples I've seen of similar people setting up camp locally, none has left the site as they found it despite having transport and the same access to council refuse sites as the rest of us, and despite now being given rolls of bin bags by the council each time. Each time they have set up near where I work, we've found men wandering around our private property and on several occcasions inside our building too. We have to increase security each time, and the police usually get called. I simply don't understand it, if they don't like the pervading stereotype of anti-social irritants and thieves for their loose community then one would think they'd make a special effort to demonstrate its falsehood.

19 August 2012 at 08:56  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Quite DanJ0. There is no falsehood about their lifestyle, it’s life on the edge. One of the examples of the criminal damage was / is the immediate throwing out, on arrival, of bags of defecate.

‘Sustainability’ is a modern buzz word, and this lifestyle is not sustainable. It’s been a few decades now since travellers could demand social security payments. We thus find an obvious gap between income and expenditure, Mr Micawber style. So, unable to live on fresh air, thieving is a necessary.

The Inspector’s opinion is that society could probably end 90% of traveller outfits by defining the bringing up of children in this way as classic child cruelty. Which of course it is, and one day we will have an hour long Panorama special highlighting it, and calls for the government to do something. One would then have the situation of the most determined of these bands heading for our ports. We would be rid of them...

19 August 2012 at 13:00  
Blogger Louis said...

A clean sweep of lefty-liberals? Your Grace is having a laugh. The Conservatives have deliberately picked Police Commissioners (as opposed to Education Commissioners, or Health Commissioners) as a hot button issue where people are more likely to vote for the right-wing candidate. Put the election in winter which will depress the notoriously unreliable Labour turnout and voila, we have Conservative police commissioners up and down the country, even in strong Labour areas. The £5000 deposit ensures that the candidate will not be too right wing.

20 August 2012 at 11:26  
Blogger Dr Evil said...

I was approached in Huntingdon town centre last Saturday morning by a Mr Goldspink of the English Democrats who is standing for PCC Office. A beautiful double sided A4 flyer created by himself and his tiny party. It laid out the duties and the party manifesto. Since he bothered to do this and since I am bothered to vote, unless a better candidate presents themselves to me then I shall vote for him. But I will vote. The government has gone rather weird on this topic. I think they really want to scrap it. Too much like democracy.

21 August 2012 at 09:31  

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