Lewes Forum thread

Go on, tell 'em what you think

Lewes Forum New message

Police Commissioner boycott call

On 22 Oct 2012 at 2:23pm Independent Thinker wrote:
Former Met chief Ian Blair has called for the public to boycott the elections for the new post of Police Commissioner. Thinks the plans are confused, unworkable, and pointless and boycotting the elections is the only way to stop it. I take voting very seriously, but have decided to boycott this one. I have no idea who anyone who any of our local candidates are other than the slightly odd sounding one who posts on here. I've even heard journalists talk about what the vote for one party's candidate over the other will mean for David Cameron. If people vote on party lines doesn't that undermine the whole point of these people? That they're meant to be independent of government and reflect local opinion? The whole thing is completely insane.
On 22 Oct 2012 at 2:32pm Deelite wrote:
I don't think anyone will notice if you boycott it. Response is unlikely to be above 20% anyway.
On 22 Oct 2012 at 2:49pm Southover Queen wrote:
I agree, Independent thinker. I think this whole notion is one of this government's loonier ideas, and is simply pandering to knee-jerk "public opinion". Indeed the whole idea of "local democracy" is fundamentally challenged by our district and county councils, who appear to take no notice of what we think at all.

It will come as no surprise to my huge following on this forum that I am not a Tory supporter. Yet I don't want any kind of politician, left or right, influencing or directing how the police go about their business - although I believe that actually these commissioners won't have any real power in any case.

I haven't completely decided yet. If I do abstain from voting it will be the first time that I have chosen not to do so (as opposed to being prevented by circumstances on a few rare occasions). I suspect a low turnout - less than 20%, for instance - would send that message and deny the commissioners any kind of popular legitimacy, so I may well follow your lead.
On 22 Oct 2012 at 3:47pm Ale wrote:
Would a stronger message be to spoil the paper as a very clear indication of (y)our view?
At least the spoiled paper gets counted! The more the better, I presume (?) as it shows a willingness to vote but a lack of support for the individuals or 'idea' of an elected Commissioner.
On 22 Oct 2012 at 3:57pm Sussex Jim wrote:
As an ordinary Englishman whose ancestors have fought long and hard for the right to vote, I feel obliged to do so.
The creation of the post of Police Commissioner may or may not be a good idea; but the election will go ahead even with a very low turnout.The fact that you are reading this forum means you have access to the internet. Look up the candidates, read their manifesto and then make a decision and cast your vote on the day (15 Nov.)
Don't come back whingeing if an extremist party gets control of the Police, and you didn't bother to vote.
On 22 Oct 2012 at 4:04pm Mr Forks wrote:
There is already an 'extremist' party in charge of this country!
On 22 Oct 2012 at 4:33pm Ed Can Do wrote:
I'm going to vote but I refuse to vote for any candidate with an official party alliance. The ridiculous bi-partisan politics of this country has no place in policing. The whole thing does seem like a completely unnessecary extra expense though and yet another opportunity for a local wannabe with enough time and money on their hands to feel self-important and get their grubby mitts on who knows how much public cash. Especially round here, we need fewer local politicians, not more.
On 22 Oct 2012 at 4:35pm Southover Queen wrote:
That's the point, Jim: the commissioner is pretty well powerless anyway so no "extremist" is going to get control of anything. There's plenty wrong with the police - morale is rock bottom, the cuts are removing the sensible officers with experience, and there seems to be a real problem at senior level in many forces. Electing some pointless puppet isn't going to cure that - what might would be some clear understanding of what's going wrong and someone taking action to fix it.
On 22 Oct 2012 at 4:41pm brixtonbelle wrote:
These are the candidates according to BBC.
Only one independernt and the rest party-afiliated

Check it out here »
On 22 Oct 2012 at 8:02pm I don't live in Lewes... wrote:
In these straightened times none of those are worth £100K a year.
On 22 Oct 2012 at 10:25pm Independent Thinker wrote:
Well, that was informative looking at the BBC website. They all want to reduce crime, apparently. Good point Ale, though. I hate idea of not voting, so will spoil my ballot instead. Though apathy in this case would send an equally clear message that these are pointless elections. I can't imagine many people beyond party members supporting their candidate will vote.
On 22 Oct 2012 at 10:41pm the old mayor wrote:
Just proves that THIS Government are NOT really serious about saving OUR money doesn't it !!! Without the salary, there still is all the expense of this sham election.
On 23 Oct 2012 at 7:25am Cuban Raft Rider wrote:
Rather than provide a conduit for the community to the local police authority the creation of a commissioner seems like a very tidy way for the police to redirect enquiries from concerned members of the community and so reduce their own internal resources
On 23 Oct 2012 at 3:11pm Ed Can Do wrote:
In an effort to seperate the candidates for those who are going to turn up and vote, I figured I'd contact them all and ask them the most pressing questions the people of Lewes are likely to have, namely: What's your opinion onthe destruction of parking meters in Lewes and what would your policy be on policing on Bonfire Night, work with teh societies to limit outsiders ruining it or lay down the letter of the law and arrest anyone seen breaking it, whether in the procession or out of it.

Or at least I tried to. On the official election website, only the independant guy Ian Chisnall has bothered to submit an email address. The tory, Katy Bourne has a link to her website (Which looks very professionally done but manages to not actually state her position on crime anywhere) which has a "Comments" section but no actual email address. None of the other candidates have any information on the official website at all.

So I'd say Ian Chisnall is looking like the best candidate so far! He's the only independant and the only oen taking it seriously enough to entertain the possibility of people talking to him or wanting to find out information about him. I shall of course report back with any answers I get, if I get them.
On 23 Oct 2012 at 11:02pm bloke wrote:
Sussex Jim .. we have the right to vote and part of that right the right to abstain from voting or spoil the ballot paper. I would not like compulsory voting like they have in Argentina and Brazil. I will probably be spoiling my paper.
On 23 Oct 2012 at 11:06pm bloke wrote:
Ian Chisnell spoke at Ignite Lewes a few months ago. The event was meant to be for people to give interesting short amusing about subjects that interest them. He used the event as a husting. Not impressed by him at all.
On 24 Oct 2012 at 12:34pm Matt Taylor wrote:
I've had the chance to meet the candidates up close and personal, during the many hustings we've done together. So, I think of myself as a bit of an expert when it comes to the PCC candidates.
Feel free to read what I think of them at my blog aboutmatttaylor.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/my-expert-opinion-of-sussex-police-and.html
It has links to Scrapper Duncan's blog, where in he's interviewed the leading three.
It's well worth reading.
On 24 Oct 2012 at 12:40pm someone else wrote:
Ed Can Do: on the independent Ian Chisnall - bear in mind that he's an evangelical Christian. I think Scrapper Duncan's blog goes into a bit more detail. Each to their own, but he's not for me.
On 24 Oct 2012 at 1:04pm Phfellow2004 wrote:
My own view on the Police & Crime Commissioner Election is that it is a great pity that general awareness is so low with the Election taking place just 3 weeks ahead. The concept of having a PCC who is responsible for setting priorities for the Sussex Police force, overseeng an enormous Budget of hundreds of millions and hiring (or firing) the Chief Constable seems a good one because the PCC and his/her Team will replace the unelected existing Sussex Police Authority which has struggled to achieve results and is overdue for the scrap heap.
For me, the best Candidate will be the one who has NOT previously been a member of the Police Authority, who has proven financial skills to oversee the Budget but, most importantly, someone who can grasp the role to hold the Police to account and ensure Police focus is on the public's priorities like cutting crime, visible policing and tackling anti-social behaviour particularly that which is alcohol fuelled.
There is only one Candidate that seems to tick all the boxes for me and that is Katy Bourne.
On 24 Oct 2012 at 2:13pm Taff wrote:
Hiring and firing of top brass has always been an option and exercised. Mr Whitehouse demise comes to mind. So the sytem is already there isnt it?
Sooner see additional bobbies on the beat rather than a desk jockey on £100k a year.
None of the candidates for me.
On 24 Oct 2012 at 2:57pm someone else wrote:
Nice plug there Phfellow. Party member by any chance?

I'm wholly unconvinced about the benefits of an elected Police commissioner in any event, but I cannot for the life of me see any purpose in the elected commissioner being a member of a political party. In fact, the whole thing would have more credibility if party members were specifically banned. Sadly, Ms Bourne is a shoe-in simply because the Tory party has more active support than any other in Sussex.
On 24 Oct 2012 at 3:22pm Ed Can Do wrote:
Nice blog Matt, your opinion of Katy Bourne is pretty much exactly what I got from browsing her website. I'm rather less inclined to vote for Chizzy now, although I will wait to see what he replies to my email.

Phfellow, do you really think the way to control a police budget is to start someone on a 100k job? If local Tories are anything to go by, Katy Bourne will have as much interest in what the public want as George Osbourne has in how much a 2nd class rail ticket costs. Just from the horrific, nothingy politik garble all over her shiny website you can tell she's in it for the power and influence and to further a party agenda, not because she has the slightest interest in helping the community and certainly not because she has the best interests of Lewes at heart.

Of course she'll get in though because as SE says, there are a ton of wealthy idiots out in the countryside round here who will blindly tick the blue box on any given ballot paper again and again without even stopping to think what the election is for, let alone who they're actually voting for. The only hope for any of the other candidates is that the UKIP chap splits the xenophobic farmer vote and people who consider tax evasion to be a crime actually bother turning out to vote.

As a matter of interest, is there a minimum turn out level for a result to stand or will someone from this bunch definitely get in? If it goes to a re-ballot I reckon we should club together to raise the £5k entrance fee and nominate our own candidate. Get IDM in the role or something...
On 24 Oct 2012 at 5:17pm jrsussex wrote:
Fail to understand the point of not voting or spoiling papers in any election, the right to vote is something to cherish. Go to those countries where the people do have that opportunity, then say you think voting is a waste of time.
I agree with those who argue that a candidate politically aligned will defeat the very purpose, and it is a shame that only one candidate is independent but that will have to be where my vote will go.
With regards to the salary of whoever gets the job I would imagine it is much less than the cost of supporting the useless Sussex Police Authority.
On 24 Oct 2012 at 6:20pm Southover Queen wrote:
I do understand that point of view, JRSussex, and that would normally be my reason for voting. However in this case the fact that the "independent" has his own unswerving allegiance means that unfortunately I find him as tainted as the others. That's because I don't believe that there should be any kind of political influence on the police, from either side (and my allegiance to one party is strong), and neither do I want someone whose thinking is prescribed by his belief in the supernatural. That's because it is really important that the police service is independent and is seen to be so - and yes, I think the influence the Mayor of London has over the Met is a problem too. That's why this this is a rubbish idea, frankly, because it's always going to be the preserve of those with a vested interest or some ulterior motive.

The thinking behind not voting or spoiling the ballot paper is that it's a way of protesting. Elected commissioners will not be able to claim a mandate if their vote is less than 20%, and the number of spoiled papers will send a similar message. It says, clearly, that this is a rubbish gimmick which will completely fail to deliver what its instigator promises.

On 24 Oct 2012 at 7:50pm jrsussex wrote:
Southover Queen - Read what you say but I am of an age to remember vividly the faults with our current police system, the miscarriages of justice, corruption throughout at all ranks etc, which has gone on since the 1950's to my knowledge. I believe in the British police, better to live under them than the type of criminals we would have to if they were not there but we need a change to make them more answerable to the people they serve, policing themselves does not work to my satisfaction. I don't know whether life under a commissioner will improve the situation or not, any more than any of the posters do, but I do feel it is worth a try and for that reason I will use my vote. If whoever wins then fails to perform at least I will have the right to air my views to whoever does succeed in the election.
On 24 Oct 2012 at 8:13pm Sussex Jim wrote:
Forget the popular tory bashing for a moment. I have studied the manifesto of all candidates, and I agree with Phfellow that Katy Bourne appears to be be best candidate for Sussex; to bring stability and traditional values back.
The last thing we want is some "independent" influencing the Police with their unknown ideals.
On 24 Oct 2012 at 9:37pm Phfellow2004 wrote:
Thank you Sussex Jim. Let common sense prevail !
On 24 Oct 2012 at 10:56pm Southover Queen wrote:
Sussex Jim, I'd find it a lot easier to debate these things with you if you didn't say things like "Forget the tory bashing for a moment". I went to some lengths to explain why I think no-one whose primary identity is their political allegiance will make a good commissioner of police. In what way is that "tory bashing"? You also appear to accept blithely and without question the notion that a police commissioner elected by "the people" can make a useful contribution - one which no-one who knows anything about policing believes to be the case. In any case, this thread isn't actually about which candidate to vote for; it's about whether one should boycott the whole notion - an idea which you have spent no time considering, apparently.

JRSussex: I'm not convinced that our police have been on a long decline since the halcyon days of the 1950s. I think the culture has changed and the power and inclination of the media to challenge the police has grown enormously. I think there's a disturbing willingness for Home Secretaries (of all political stripes) to use the police as a political football for scoring easy points and also, notably, to use the police as a means of enforcing unpopular law (Orgreave, Poll Tax riots). I don't doubt for a second that there is currently a major problem in several areas: with public perception of the police, with actual bad apples popping up at very senior level all over the place, and with rock bottom morale among the lower ranks. This isn't going to be solved by electing some tinpot politician locally who has no power anyway: it's by taking strategic action at a national level after researching what the endemic problems actually are.

I'm thoroughly fed up with politicians making pointless pronouncements (cutting out the red tape, removing the back room bureaucrats blah blah) without having the faintest idea what they're dealing with. All this ridiculous gimmick is likely to do is add further confusion to the mix. No, I probably shan't vote.
On 25 Oct 2012 at 1:29pm jrsussex wrote:
This is a part of an unsolicited e-mail I have just received from the Government, which offers a brief explanation of the hoped for role of a police commissioner.
"How many times have people you know complained about crime and anti-social behaviour where they live? And how many times have they shrugged their shoulders and said there's nothing they can do?
From next month, that all changes. On 15 November, everybody living in England and Wales, outside London, will have the right to vote for a Police and Crime Commissioner in their area. The Commissioners will use the authority they have locally to lead the fight against crime in your communities. They will set police budgets and decide how much you pay for policing through council tax. They will be able to hire - and, if necessary, fire - chief constables. They will set the policing plan for your force area and will hold your chief constable to account for delivering that plan and cutting crime. These are important jobs, and big elections.
Watch our short video to find out more about the role of PCCs."
On 25 Oct 2012 at 1:57pm Southover Queen wrote:
We (supposedly) elect our District and County Councils too, JR. They take not the very slightest notice of what Lewes wants or needs, and treat us with disdain. Witness the latest "public consultation" on street lighting - just two weeks from start to finish with no attempt to contact people affected beyond a couple of laminated notices on lampposts. A county councillor I spoke to about it hadn't even know it was happening until the "consultation period" was nearly up. So no, I don't trust local democracy at all.

Secondly there are very hard questions in crime and policing which are not best dealt with by knee jerk decisions based on what the Daily Mail thinks. For instance, does sending people to jail stop them offending when they're released? Does sending badly behaved youths to boot camps make them reform? No, it doesn't. Does removing police officers from "back room duties" make them more efficient. No it doesn't.

Sorry, but I don't trust politicians to ask questions and evaluate them without having at least half an eye on what their voters think. "Bring back hanging/flogging/arm the police" They'll pursue popular policies which just make things worse. We don't know - I don't know - how best to manage crime locally. That's what the Home Office is for, not - I repeat - some tinpot local politician.

Not even Nadine Dorries thinks it's a good idea.

Check it out here »
On 25 Oct 2012 at 2:39pm Matt Taylor wrote:
Sussex needs Katy Bourne like a hole in the head. Sussex needs me, Matt Taylor, because I am the only candidate who has done; now, what I've said I'll do if elected.
No other candidate has named the killers of Katrina Taylor in 1996.
No other candidate has exposed the levels of corruption in Sussex Police and local government.
No other candidate has named a crime-lord protected by Sussex Police.
No other candidate has promised to sack the Chief Constable.
I've won the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner election by default because there are no other candidates left standing. They are all implicated in the whole-scale corruption in Sussex.
It goes without saying that when the government is corrupt, corruption trickles down to local level.
The Neilson Crime files indict up to 50 police officers in the Katrina Taylor murder cover-up and a further 300 local government officials, past and present, in the whole-sale corruption in public life.
David Joe Neilson is a victim of police corruption and the Jimmy Savile scandal has taught us that rumours and victims must be taken seriously.
I am the only candidate who has taken David Neilson seriously and I am the only candidate who has helped cracked Sussex wide corruption.
I don't need to convince anyone, I've cracked it, job done....
The proof is indisputable and over-whelming. We have sent the crime files to the media, the IPCC, the Prime Minister and the Queen. If they choose to ignore it, then they will have to explain themselves in a court of Law.
No one is above the Law....
On 25 Oct 2012 at 3:12pm Ed Can Do wrote:
Er, I don't see your name on the list of candidates Matt. I thought your blog was alright, I didn't realise you were unhinged.

For the record, here's the email I got back from Chizzy:

"I have no great love of parking meters as tools of financial extraction (speaking as a motorist) but each local authority has the right to deploy meters if it wishes. It is not acceptable for a small number of Lewes residents or visitors to destroy public equipment, no matter how much they may dislike them with all of the risks to life and limb.

In terms of the bonfire societies, what is a family friendly community centred experience in places such as Newick or Fletching becomes something much more challenging on 5th November in Lewes. I would prefer to find a solution that enables the Lewes Bonfire Societies to express what they would consider is free speech and their tradition. However this needs to be in the context of not threatening other communities in the town (there has been some terrible hate crime incidents in the past) and not leading to danger to the town and its residents. I am sure that improvements can be found if there is a will to compromise, but recognise that if such an activity was to be proposed today from scratch, no one would consider it appropriate and it does need to be something than passes some form of test of credibility for those who may wish to propose other activities that are not yet part of long tradition!"

So it looks like he's spouting the tired old victim-complex religious objection to Bonfire without really understanding it. I'm definitely not voting for him now.
On 25 Oct 2012 at 3:31pm Southover Queen wrote:
Thanks Ed. That certainly settles the matter in my mind: they're all either bonkers or pursuing their own agendas completely oblivious to anything as inconvenient as facts.

It shouldn't be so hard, should it? Let's assess FACTS and DATA and make decisions accordingly. Evidence based politics - chance would be a fine thing.
On 25 Oct 2012 at 3:46pm Matt Taylor wrote:
Exactly, evidence based but yet you call me unhinged...
I give up....
On 25 Oct 2012 at 9:06pm Southover Queen wrote:
Speaking personally, Matt, I don't know if you're unhinged, but that post is about as good an example of why I don't think electing commissioners is a good idea as I can imagine. I don't know what your basis for what you claim is, but I can't see how you'd ever work with the police in any meaningful way. The police do an impossible job, and just a tiny number are corrupt. The rest have to pick up all the cr@p you and I don't want to touch with the proverbial bargepole, and I sense no respect for that from you.
On 25 Oct 2012 at 11:46pm Matt Taylor wrote:
I respect law and order and have been a police officer and have the heart of Judge Dredd. Not preach integrity to me thank you.
I am only bringing Justice to the people who have contacted me asking for help.
Victims have cried abuse and I am the only candidate to have believed them.
Out of 1.5 million residents in Sussex, I stood up to the plate to be counted.
and now the latest:::
UKIP candidate Tony Armstrong, got a rough ride with Scrapper Duncan...
Have you heard?
He's been called a RACIST!
Nasty; you have gotta check out his interview at scrapperduncan's blog...
The race is hotting up and have you heard the latest from the SOS club?
On 26 Oct 2012 at 12:07am Southover Queen wrote:
Hmmm. You seem to have served in the Royal Military Police which isn't quite the same thing, is it?

It's actually quite hard to find out much about you at all, beyond your suggestion that we should be preparing to put volunteers on the streets, which sounds dangerously like advocating vigilantism. That and admitting that you don't actually know what the residents of Sussex want from their police service because "you haven't asked". That's a pretty basic question, isn't it? You probably need to have an opinion, even if it's misguided.

Still, since you didn't actually pony up the £5k we can be fairly certain you're not going to be the next police commissioner for Sussex, can't we? Which I have to say I count as a considerable relief...

This thread has reached its limit now
Why not start another one


Cameron and Porky 18:132
Cameron and Porky

Get a cat? more
I like the walk along the ouse to Hamsey church, the view from the top of the Castle, Pells pool, the antique shops and boot fair, the lion in the window of the 15c bookshop, keere street