Steve Unwin, UKIP Home Affairs Spokesman, explains why UKIP are boycotting the 2021 Police and Crime Commissioner elections.
UKIP opposes the posts of Police & Crime Commissioners. After two terms since their creation, Police & Crime Commissioners have proven to be a waste of resources – politicising our police, whilst failing to provide any genuinely perceivable police accountability to the public.
In spite of UKIP coming third in the previous round of Police & Crime Commissioner elections, in 2016, with 13.7% of the vote, and polling second place in four police areas (Essex, South Yorkshire, Kent and Lincolnshire) UKIP will boycott the elections for these posts in the May 2021 elections.
Police & Crime Commissioners have proved themselves to be a failure, created by the 2010-2015 Coalition government. Police & Crime Commissioners have been dogged with controversy and received, at best, apathy and disinterest by the public. Just 15.1% bothered to vote in the original Police & Crime Commissioner elections in England and Wales (2012).
This jumped to 26.6% in the 2016 Police & Crime Commissioner elections in spite of them being tied in with local elections on the same day, but fell back to 10% to 15% in by elections. In at least one case a ballot box was returned completely empty! (Spital Tonges in the city centre of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, Northumbria Police & Crime Commissioner By-election, 18 July 2019.)
UKIP would scrap the 40 posts, along with their expensive offices (many have deputies, chief executives, chief finance officers, and a host of other highly paid posts) and return oversight of police services in England and Wales back to local communities. Any savings from scrapping this costly and ineffective layer of government, would be diverted to the relevant Chief Constable to invest in vital front line policing.
The best of the best of our police officers have, over decades, worked through the ranks to position of Chief Constable in each police force. For them to account to a random Party Political Commissioner, in most cases only there because of the colour of their rosette – and who might be good, bad, but more often utterly indifferent – evades the essential need of oversight by local communities.
The year after the creation of the Police & Crime Commissioner posts, David Cameron’s Coalition Government introduced direct entry to the senior ranks of policing, thus ending 180 years of tradition, which held that all recruits to the police start their careers as constables. UKIP will reverse this decision.
UKIP will, however, be contesting the upcoming by-election in Hartlepool, as well as seats on the Welsh Assembly, the Scottish Parliament, the London Assembly and the Mayor of London, as well as numerous seats in the local council elections across the land.