Letter in The Times on Police Reform Bill

Along with two colleagues, Baroness Ruth Henig and Baroness Harris of Richmond (no relation), I have a letter in The Times this morning:

“‘Police accountability cannot be distilled down to a single individual elected on a party ticket.’


We are heartened that ‘Ministers are preparing a “substantial package” of concessions over their plan to create elected police chiefs’ in response to peers’ concerns.

However, your report ascribing responsibility to Labour and Lib Dem peers for halting this risky revolution does a disservice to the diversity of Cross Bench peers who voted 3 to 1against the bill. They, and a majority of all Peers present, argued in favour of a Commissioner within a more collegiate model of governance.

We urge the government to listen to this public preference and to preserve the best of a diverse, broadly-based governance system for the police.

The right recipe for police accountability that has thus far helped deliver falling crime and rising public confidence cannot be distilled to a single individual elected on a party ticket.


Baroness Angela Harris
Baroness Ruth Henig
Lord Toby Harris”

2 thoughts on “Letter in The Times on Police Reform Bill”

  1. Since when have a few cross-bencher peers been the basis for this statement in your letter: ‘We urge the government to listen to this public preference…’ ?

    Public preferences in policing have been recorded in opinion polling for sometime now, notably by Which Magazine’s annual poll and they consistently require an emergency response, tackling serious crime (murder) and neighbourhood issues. Other issues feature and rarely have police and public priorities been in tandem. Indeed one can argue for a long time the police and those who have directed them have ignored what the public wanted. Notably anti-social behaviour.

    I am unaware of any wider polling data on public preferences.

    Was there not polling recently on the almost unknown status and profile of police authorities? Perhaps you believe police authorities represent part – if not the whole – of a ‘diverse, broadly-based governance system’. Well the evidence suggests the public disagree.

  2. Think that you’ll find an Ipsos/Mori poll found that 65% or more would rather have a police authority style rather than a PCC. 15% preferred the model promoted by Herbert et al

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