Northamptonshire PCC Gulag Proposals – Expensive, Illegal and Dumb
When Adam Simmonds the Northamptonshire Police and Crime Commissioner announced his big policy vision of sending families of re-offenders on a two years ‘hell regime’ in derelict army camps he was quite rightly submerged under a deluge of criticism.
In response to my criticism his answer wasn’t to argue his case but to resort to personal abuse based it has to be said on inaccurate information which you would have thought he’d have researched before his outburst.
Putting his tantrum at being criticised to one side,
one of his arguments was that the policy would be cheaper than sending re-offenders to prison.
Which begs the important question on what exactly did he base his economic argument for the policy on?
Mr Simmonds claims that there are at least 10 families in Kettering alone that he would consider candidates for his Gulag policy, a claim incidentally that Northamptonshire police officers I know appear to have no knowledge of.
However giving Adam Simmonds the benefit of the doubt, after all he is a professional politician so his instinct to exaggerate may still be on high alert;
if the number of families in Kettering is replicated across Northamptonshire it would mean that he has at least 40 families in his sights.
Assuming from his exaggeration factor it means that there would be at least 8 people in each family split evenly between adults and children, or in other words 160 adults and 160 children.
It doesn’t take a genius to realise that accommodating 320 people from 40 families in one location will also require catering and the training facilities to provide “the basic household skills” the PCC insists they need.
The catering alone at £4 a day would cost £467k a year.
Then add the cost of the fully equipped workshops and instructors to provide the vocational qualifications, £300k
A fully equipped educational facility with teaching staff who have the experience of working with difficult learners of all age groups of £750k a year
A gymnasium, fitness area, PE staff to cover 7 day week of £240k a year
Probation staff £280k a year
Forensic and child psychologists £350k a year
Planned maintenance and ground maintenance staff £150k
Disciplinary staff to maintain control and deliver the ’24/7 two years of hell’ regime 7 day a week £1,500k
Administrative staff £375k a year
Chaplaincy staff for both religious and pastoral work 7 day week £150k a year
DWP staff and benefits, assuming that families receive the National Minimum Wage for complying is £525000
Accountancy staff to run budget £60k a year
Parade ground type area for ‘the hell’ regime
Healthcare, doctor, nurses, medical orderlies £250k a year
Access to transport vehicle/ s, movement of internees to and from the camp
Infrastructure to support the regime food for families, education and training materials, utilities, staff equipment and resources £3 million
Garden horticulture area for self-sufficiency and diversion from crime training
The secure environment to keep and protect the vulnerable children in a threat free environment.
Car parking for staff
Office space for permanent staff
Facilities for visiting organisations, banks, CAB, housing, employment, charities
Would all add up to a cost which in purely monetary terms would be over £8.3 million a year, or in the region of the cost of running HMP Wellingborough in 2011.
The economic argument therefore just doesn’t add up and of course doesn’t take into account the cost of the compensation that will unquestionably be awarded to the families for being illegally detained in the Adam Simmonds “Give them hell camps”.
Compensation that would run into millions if not tens of millions of pounds.
I won’t go into the emotional and psychological impact on the innocent children and adults of being removed from society without any form of trial and having committed no offence other than being related to an offender.
What is not in doubt is that the answer to dealing with children who live in chaotic and difficult families is certainly not to put them with other families whose lives are also chaotic, and especially if the chaos is due to criminal activity.
It is difficult to understand why someone in the position of being a Police and Crime Commissioner should not only think up such a policy but then promote it knowing that it would be illegal.
What an earth was he thinking?
The reality appears to be that he got carried away with his own promotional material and publicity.
What other explanation is there for such a dumb idea.
One can only hope that Adam Simmonds after his embarrassment on the Politics Show will have learned a lesson,
Which is that there is no place in policing, or society for his ultra-right wing Conservative policies bordering on fascism.
In both economic and social terms, the Adam Simmonds “two years of hell” policy has been shown up to be , Expensive, Illegal and Dumb.
It has also shown Adam Simmonds to be unfit to serve in public office and especially a public office in which he has employed his friends at a cost of over £300,000 a year to the tax payer.