Better the devil you know?
11:30am Wednesday 7th November 2012 in Letters
IT HAS been interesting to read in the national press that the voting expectancy in the police commissioners election had been estimated at 17%, and today has been revised to possibly only 10%.
Last week the Western Telegraph had an article on the subject in which you named two candidates in Pembrokeshire.
The first you identified as Labour and the second as Conservative.
You then went on to mention the “oath of allegiance”
or equivalent in which the candidate must swear to be totally without any political bias, which to means nonpartisan.
Is that possible with these two candidates as they are both professional party politicians?
I had hoped that, if we must suffer this unnecessary added level of bureaucracy, the candidates might be highly experienced persons from the legal profession, retired senior police officers, or other qualified to oversee our Chief Constable.
On the other hand, there is no sensible justification for this role, as our Chief Constables should be running their regional police forces efficiently and in line with local demand. And I have every confidence that we are already in that fortunate position.
We have had no information from either of the candidates on what they plan to improve, and we know little about their potential competence in this role. But they certainly do not have any direct police experience.
We also know that it is a costly exercise and undermines the authority of Chief Constables.
On that basis, I will certainly not vote.
PETER BELLAN Upper Treleddyn St Davids
I READ with interest the Police and Crime Commissioner elections leaflet just received.
It informs me that if I wish to know who is standing in my area, also to get information from that candidate, I am required to either visit a website or telephone for printed information.
Who are these people who expect me to do their electioneering for them? Can I really be bothered?
Am I impressed with these methods? No I am not. I vote for candidates who demonstrate interest in me and my surroundings.
There is concern that there will be a low turnout.
Guaranteed, I would say. Is there a minimum percentage of votes which renders the election invalid?
BRENDA MEE Hanover Quay Haverfordwest
THANKS to the Western Telegraph we have the CV of the Labour and Conservative candidates.
We can make up our own mind which is the most qualified to have a go at this new job. How much does each candidate require for the secretariat to support them in the role?
How independent will he or she be of the party machine?
In what way did the existing police authority fail? Is there a danger that the party with the most PCCs will, or have the ability, to control the nation’s police policy?
For the first time in my life I refuse to vote, better the devil I know.
FRANK HARBUD Lawrenny
I REFER to your item regarding the election of Police and Crime Commissioners (PCC).
Both the candidates for our county are clearly excellent citizens, well known and respected for what they do.
One seems to be in early thirties, with experience of small businesses but unheard of in Pembrokeshire, the other a well known Labour politician for many years. No harm with any of that.
But neither has any meaningful experience of anything to do with a police force, let alone the ability to decide police budgets, or hire or fire chief constables.
Would they have the qualities and experience necessary to preside over the complex issues now facing the Yorkshire police forces in the wake of issues re Hillsborough? Because that is exactly what will be on their plate in one form or another.
The idea of PCCs was flawed from the start, because of the difficulties of finding candidates with the relevant experience. A good example would be Alun Michael in Cardiff, but there aren’t many like him around.
The PCCs will have very wide powers over every day issues which affect us all.
Arguably more so than an MP, in times when most decisions are taken in Brussels or Cardiff.
But your item was buried on page 15, which does not speak volumes of the general importance attached to these elections, and what we are unleashing. Or is it that nobody has a clue what the PCCs are going to do? Or what, in theory, is the extent of the powers they hold?
If the candidates wish to become active in police affairs, perhaps they would do better to apply to become special constables, and learn about policing from the real world end.
DAVID LEMON Neyland