Police and Crime Commissioners are a waste of money and should be scrapped. That's the message that Alison Seabeck, Labour MP for Plymouth Moor View, and myself are sending to the Government today.
I have never been a big fan of Police Commissioners. I opposed their introduction at the time in 2012 as I believe they were a waste of money, risked politicising the Police, diverted money from frontline policing to fund expensive salaries of Commissioners and wouldn't be able to fight the Police cuts the Tories and are forcing on us. Two years on from their election with the lowest turn outs in British history I remain unconvinced by the roles and I'm very pleased that Yvette Cooper MP, Labour's Shadow Home Secretary, has announced that a Labour Government would scrap them.
The next Labour government will abolish Police and Crime Commissioners and put the savings back into frontline policing instead. - Yvette Cooper MP, Shadow Home Secretary
Alison Seabeck and myself have today issued a joint press release calling for Police Commissioners to be scrapped. You can read this below. Let me know what you think about Police and Crime Commissioners and you'll get a bonus point if you can name Devon and Cornwall's Tory Commissioner.
Labour calls for Devon and Cornwall Police Commissioner to be scrapped
Two local Labour politicians have issued a joint call for the post of Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Commissioner to be scrapped. Alison Seabeck, Labour MP for Plymouth Moor View, and Luke Pollard, Labour's Parliamentary candidate in Plymouth Sutton and Devonport, are calling on the Government to call time on the expensive and unpopular Police Commissioner roles and return the money spent on them to frontline policing.
Alison Seabeck MP said: "Police and Crime Commissioners are costing taxpayers across the UK millions of pounds a year. This is money that should be spent on frontline policing. I've spoken to Shadow Home Secretary, Yvette Cooper, who announced last week that Labour would scrap Police Commissioners if Labour wins the General Election. Scrapping Police Commissioners would stop the cuts to 1,100 police officers in 2015/2016 and scrapping the elections would save £50m. Devon and Cornwall’s share of these savings would help keep bobbies on the beat in Plymouth.”
“I have not seen a scrap of evidence that suggests that the Police Commissioner has improved the lives of my constituents. On the contrary, I believe the bloated salaries of the Commissioner and his staff have taken resources out of frontline policing that have hurt the people I represent."
Luke Pollard, who will challenge Tory MP, Oliver Colvile, in Plymouth Sutton and Devonport in 2015 added: "Devon and Cornwall's Police Commissioner is costing hundreds of thousands of pounds a year when you add in wages of him and his well-paid executive staff. This is all money that could be spent on frontline policing and helping reverse many of the cuts to the Police this Government has forced on us here in the south west. The Government got it wrong assuming the answer to crime is more politicians and politicising the police.
“I have not met a single person in Plymouth who thinks taxpayers cash money spent on Police Commissioners is money well spent. Far from being more accountable, having an anonymous and distant politician directing police priorities from afar has removed accountability. It is time to scrap Police Commissioners."
Alison Seabeck and Luke Pollard have jointly written to David Cameron to call for the scrapping of the post of Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Commissioner and for the money spent on that post to be spent on more Police Officers for Plymouth.
This call comes a few weeks after just a single person turned up to a public meeting organised by Tony Hogg, Devon and Cornwall's Police and Crime Commissioner.
Yvette Cooper MP, Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary, announced to Labour Conference that a future Labour government would scrap Police and Crime Commissioners and plough the savings back into frontline policing. The Conservatives are committed to keeping Police and Crime Commissioners.
You can read the article in the Herald about this campaign here.