Only a month ago Vernon Coaker, the Policing Minister in support of direct elections to Police Authorities said that ‘only direct election, based on geographic constituencies, will deliver the strong connection to the public which is critical’ and dismissing fears from the Local Government Association and Association of Police Authorities of the BNP flooding authorities with its supporters he added, ‘The BNP has stood against many of the councillors on police authorities. They have stood against me. How have we beaten them? By persuasion; we have pointed out the racist nature of much of what they say.’
Presumably what Vernon Coaker said a month ago no longer applies as the Home Secretary has dropped plans for direct elections blaming the politicisation of the Police as a concern and the potential for BNP members to get elected. How odd that in an old and established democracy, people fear the outcome of a democratic result.
As far as politicisation is concerned, Jacqui Smith is talking utter nonsense. She seems to think that when Police chase targets and do what Ministers want them to do there’s no politicisation but when there’s a chance that the Police might end up doing what the public demands, they’re being politicised!
It is in the Labour Party’s genes to try and maintain state control over everything. Here, it flirted with local autonomy for Police Authorities albeit based on flawed plans but at the eleventh hour bottled it as it has previously in health and education with plans for Foundation Hospitals and School Academies.