At a time when the UK police force is facing cuts of up to 20% to reduce funding, the government is about to debate a new idea which will cost an estimated 100 million pounds to implement.
On Monday, UK MPs are scheduled to debate the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill, designed to pave the way for an elected police commissioner in each police force area.
Not only that, but ministers are also expected to extend voting rights to prisoners following a 2004 European Court of Human Rights ruling. Under this plan, it is apparently not specifically ruled out that convicts themselves would be able to participate as candidates in elections for commissioners.
Surely any prospective candidate would have to have at least some experience within the police force, and preferably on the right side of the law, otherwise you just end up with another MP.
Opponents say that, in addition to being a costly exercise at a time when the police force is facing massive spending cuts, there is a great risk of politicising the role of Police Chief. And then there’s all that expensive campaigning which is part and parcel of any electoral process.
Despite the EHCR ruling that the UK’s 143 year old blanket ban on convicted, serving prisoners having a vote was unlawful, only two places in the world allow convicted felons to vote for a Police Chief, Maine and Vermont in the USA.
Prospective Police Chief candidate Jack ‘The Masher’ Hammer (UKIP-BNP Alliance) was unavailable for comment on the new proposals.