01 August 2008

Police force needs to be national

I was asked to complete a survey recently, asking whether I thought the Primary Care Trust and the Police should be run by the local Council. My response was that the two were so different that we should not be contemplating the same solution for both.

In my opinion, the non-acute work of the PCT should, indeed, be combined with social care and run by the (county or unitary) council. But the police are completely different. Their job is to enforce the law. The law is set nationally. The same law applies to all citizens throughout the nation. This is vital, as has been expressed in recent responses to the suggestion that 'sharia law' should apply to certain people in certain places.

And this is why the proposal, in the government's recent green police paper, to have a majority of directly elected representatives on local police authorities is so misguided. By all means, improve the awareness and responsiveness of the local police force to local issues and priorities. But do not make them a locally elected, and therefore political, entity. This would set them up in direct competition to the council, which is the local body with a democratic mandate and responsibility for the well-being of the local area. It would make the police vulnerable to control by extremism and pressure groups rather than being the objective upholders of the rule of law.


Nicole said...

I totally agree. Proper Policing is an essential part of the well-being of our community in Britain which must be led from the top.