On not being Police & Crime Commissioner for Lancashire
Now that the process is done and dusted for the selection of Labour’s Police & Crime Commissioner candidates, I can comment on my own experience of completely failing to be the Lancashire candidate.
In terms of process, a longlist was drawn up by Regional Boards, and interviewed by a panel from the Regional Board. A shortlist was then announced, and those on the shortlist given access to membership mailing list so that they could send their promotional leaflets and emails.
This, to my mind, was a waste of money and maybe even a bit of a fix. There is no reason why the whole PCC selection process could not have run parallel to the NEC/NPF elections, with potential candidates seeking nominations from CLPs and then, if validly nominated, submitting their wordage in the normal voting papers instead of separately. The whole shortlisting-by-committee thing (as used for urgent parliamentary selections) smacks of vetting.
And indeed I was vetted, and found unsuitable. That is, I was longlisted on the basis of my track record, but the Regional Board panel didn’t like my answers enough to let me through to the democratic process.
The feedback I received was that my approach to being a PCC was ‘over-theoretical’.
Actually, I take that feedback as a backhanded compliment. I sought, both in application and interview, to take the role of police commissioner back to first principles, whilst also providing an understanding of how the principles of a socialist approach to policing might, initially at least, be operationally constrained. It is not easy, for example, to implement overnight a zero-budgeting exercise, whereby budgets are reallocated according to democratically agreed priorities.
I would, of course, contend that my vision of a distinctively socialist approach to policing – alongside a commitment to sound governorship rather over and above the Robocop aspirations that so many candidates will express – might have been attractive to the Labour membership in Lancashire.
I’m not saying I’d have won, but at least there’d have been a different point of view for members’, and even fellow candidates’, consideration. Sadly, they never got that chance.
I wish the successful candidate well, and look forward to a manifesto which sets him apart from the other candidates on the basis of an approach to policing rooted in socialist values. I can help with developing that if he’s interested.