Since the idea of having elected police chiefs was first mooted I have been against it. I have seen the inevitable politicisation of the police service as a price to high to pay for any benefits that people said might be delivered.
Many I know have agreed with me but in recent times I have changed my mind.
The issues for me are public accountability and trust in the police service. For a start I still flinch at the word ‘service’ as I would much prefer a police ‘force’. The cuts in service numbers have not been fully completed yet and the reduction of service is there to be seen in the community. Fact is that members of the public are fast losing faith in their local constabulary. How can policing by consent be possible when the public have lost faith?
Having an elected police commissioner would re-engage the public with the police and provide a level of accountability which would reassure many. Times have changed and policing cannot afford to struggle to stay the same.