Friday, September 04, 2009

Keep politics out of policing

Between 2000 and 2004 I was an independent member of Merseyside Police Authority. This was an interesting activity, and I felt it was worthwhile. At times the politicking between the different parties did rankle, and the behaviour of a couple of the Liberal Democrats was atrocious, but I would say that generally the politicians recognised the need for operational independence and that there was no wish to politicise policing.

Boris Johnson, elected buffoon of London, has proudly announced that the Tories are 'in control' of the Metropolitan police. Given some of their recent public order failures, that isn't something anyone should wish to boast about. I think it is wrong for a political party to behave in this way. It is partially a problem of a settlement which does not give the Metropolitan police authority very much say, and where the Home office and the Mayoralty appear to be in some sort of competition for the greatest influence. But it is not the direction in which policing should be heading. Police must be allowed to do their job without the short-termist influence of those seeking votes

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