How silly of Lord Ian Blair to suggest a boycott of the Police Commissioner elections

Lord Blair of Boughton (the artiste previously known as Sir Ian Blair) has made a particularly silly suggestion.  Interviewed on Sky News, he has suggested that people should boycott the elections on 15th November for Police and Crime Commissioners:

“I’ve never said this before but I actually hope people don’t vote because that is the only way we are going to stop this.”

Like most other people, Ian Blair thinks the proposed system of elected Police and Crime Commissioners is flawed. There are no proper checks and balances in the governance arrangements, many of the police force areas make little sense as electoral districts, there is a risk of politicising aspects of operational policing that should not be politicised, and the changes are a waste of money at a time when frontline police budgets are being cut as never before.

However, the legislation rightly or wrongly was passed last year with a its flaws intact (despite the best endeavours of some of us in the House of Lords). The elections ARE going to take place in just over three weeks time (holding the elections in November when it is likely to be cold, wet and dark was an incomprehensible sop to the Liberal Democrats).   And yes, the turnout will probably be low – maybe very low – but a boycott is simply going to mean an even lower turnout and an even greater risk that maverick candidates will be elected.

Police accountability matters.  This may be the wrong system, but on 15th November forty-one Police and Crime Commissioners will be elected in every part of England and Wales with the exception of London (where we have the “benefit” of an elected Mayor in charge of the Metropolitan Police and where the Corporation of London retains its own medieval system of oversight of the City Police).

A boycott will achieve nothing.  I am confident that before too long this new system will have to be changed – probably drastically.  In the meantime,  because police oversight is so important in any democracy, everyone will have to make the best of the flawed arrangements. And that means ENCOURAGING people to vote on 15th November.

2 thoughts on “How silly of Lord Ian Blair to suggest a boycott of the Police Commissioner elections”

  1. There will be PCCs so the Government can blame them for the police cuts. Reducing the credibility of those elected, and thereby also of the Government, isn’t so bad an idea.

  2. In general circumstances I support the principle or tactic of using all and any platform to proclaim one’s message – in my case Socialism, but do sometimes Actively Abstain – i.e. use my ballot paper and enter ‘Abstain’.
    I may very well adopt this tactic in this Farce, working on the principle that
    * the candidate elected will have little or no Public mandate for anything
    * this neo-liberal Govt’s attempts to out-Blair, Blair in rolling back the rights of ordinary ppl may leave them in the quandry of accepting the results on a shockingly low vote, whilst trumpeting their intention to impose a minimum % turn-out for T U ballots.

    Josef K

    I saw your robust critique of the proposed Rules governing membership of CCGs,
    and your shocking revelation that some 100 PCTs are to be transformed into more than 150 CCGs in an attempt to cut costs!
    WHAT ?

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