PCC Turnout Was Criminal

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Steve on Walton Streets 1

So turnout nationally for the Police and Crime Commissioner elections was around 10%.

When you consider that David Cameron has invested £100 million in this policy and is set to pay these new Commissioners six figure salaries, we can see that it is The Tories themselves that have acted criminally here.

A PCC's salary alone is enough to pay for four or five frontline police officer's salaries for an entire year.

Watching the news last night and seeing the verifications come through, it is evident that turnout for these elections was atrocious. Some polling districts here reporting that nobody had voted in their station, whilst others were struggling to break into double digit percentages.

And Cameron shouldn't be surprised. By installing PCCs on these salaries and at such a cost to the public purse, what he is essentially advocating is politicising the police. Now I know Cameron is out of touch at the best of times, but surely even he appreciates that politicians standing in public is at its lowest ebb for some time, so surely he understood PCC elections would at best be a damp-squib which is what they were.

Some people are probably wondering why Labour decided to even field candidates. For me, the reason it was important that we did was because the Tories record on law and order is simply not good enough.

The last Labour government was the first in peacetime history to leave office with crime lower than when we assumed office. And not just slightly lower, but 43% lower. This didn't happen by chance, it happened by choice. The famous phrase, "Tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime" was the catalyst for a resurgent police and law and order system. We understood that in order to tackle crime, you fundamentally had to improve the peoples’ life chances.

When you consider what this government has done to the economy and what they continue to do to police, you realise that the choice is clear; do you put party principle before the safety of people, or do you field candidates and fight the government from within?

It's an inconvenient truth for the government that the Labour Party, along with the police themselves, have actually been clear in supporting cuts to police budgets. HMIC made it clear that we could support cuts of 12% or in cash terms, £1 billion but anything more than that would result in a loss of frontline capability. Why Cameron, Clegg and May believe they know more about policing than the police themselves, I simply don’t understand, but they have insisted that the "plebs" cut their budgets by a staggering 20% or £2 billion.

It means that Cameron and Clegg will have sacked 15,000 police officers by May 2015 despite Lib Dems promising an extra 3,000 before they got into power. There are already 7,000 fewer frontline police officers today than in May 2010. And Tories & Lib Dems are making it harder for police to get CCTV, use DNA evidence & are cutting work with communities to tackle causes of crime.

So it's a mixed bag and an unbalanced position. I don’t agree with PCCs but I understand the importance of a Labour win for Merseyside. Like anything first time around, it is always very testing. If PCCs prove to be the ignition for this government to halt the rising crime levels across the country, I will stand corrected. The problem however, is that on this one, I can't see it happening. And judging by yesterday's turnout, neither can you.

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