Why Northants People Should Not Elect a Conservative Police Commissioner
As all of the political parties are moving forward in selecting their candidates for the very important position of an elected Police Commissioner for Northamptonshire there are very good reasons why people should not vote for a Conservative Candidate.
In Northampton for the first time in eight years it is reported that crime has increased and yet the Conservative controlled Borough and County Councils tell us it has nothing to do with the streetlights being switched off making many areas of the town dark and threatening nor is it the result of their decision to cut police funding leading to a loss of 13 PCSO’s.
Unbelievably the Conservatives not only expect the public to believe them but also manage to keep a straight face when saying it.
I recently attended a residents association meeting where a Conservative County and Borough Councillor had the gall to say “the streetlights switch off was carried out as a desktop exercise without understanding the areas affected and that he had continued to have lights switched back on”.
After the meeting residents asked me if he had voted to have the lights in their sheltered housing areas switched back on and were quite angry when they found out the Councillor had not only supported the switch off as member of the County Council but had voted against them being switched back on at the Borough Budget meeting.
Their annoyance, if that is the right word, was compounded even more when they read recently a letter published in the Chronicle and Echo from the Chairperson of the local Conservative Branch saying that people should stop complaining about the cuts is streetlights and PCSO’s and look at the great things the Conservatives are doing both at the County and Borough.
Of course the savage cuts in police funding imposed by the County and Borough Council come on top of the Liberal Democrat – Conservative coalition Governments 20% cut in funding for police which according to their PR (spin) will have “no significant impact on front line policing”
It may seem strange but I fail to see how a cut in police funding of £1 in every £5 which has led to cutting of over 1,100 front line police in the East Midlands will not have a “significant impact”.
Who do they think they are kidding?
This brings me to the argument that the Conservative Councillors are now putting forward at the residents meetings, which is
“It will be the role of the Police Commissioner and Chief Constable to decide on the priorities and to increase the number of PCSO’s and Police”.
It is clearly the intention of the Conservatives both nationally and locally to transfer the blame for reduced policing and increasing crime on to the Chief Constable and Police Commissioner in order to divert attention away from the impact of their decisions.
Any sensible person will be asking how will the Police Commissioner increase and restore policing back to the level before the Conservatives cuts without increasing significantly the police precept of Council Tax in future years.
The problem then is that they will also get the blame for increasing Council Tax, another Conservative ploy to transfer responsibility for the impact of their decisions to someone else.
It is very clear that the Police Commissioner will have a prioritise policing in areas of high and increasing crime whilst preventing the same happening across the county.
This will not be achieved by a Conservative Candidate who will have to support the Conservative approach to policing which was summed up succinctly in a debate at Northampton Borough Council by the Leader of the Council when he said very clearly in justifying the cuts to police funding, “the Borough Council has no responsibility for policing in Northampton, policing and crime is a Police issue”.
The question for the people of Northampton and Northamptonshire is very simple.
We know from their statements and actions that the Conservatives are no longer the party of crime and order.
Which is why I will be campaigning for a Police Commissioner who will put people first and who will challenge the disgraceful and incompetent local and national politicians who are completely out of touch with hard-working people whose safety is threatened by cuts to policing and those working in law enforcement.