On Tuesday 5th July 2011, Fabian attended a briefing from the West Yorkshire Police Authority concerning government proposals for directly elected Police Commissioners.
At present the police fall under the direct management of the Home Secretary but are accountable locally to individual force police authorities such as the one for West Yorkshire. These authorities are committees that have a broad range of expertise and representation including elected councillors, magistrates and other expert co-opted members. With this broad range of membership there is a strong built-in measure of local accountability. Government proposals envisage that authorities will be led, in future, by directly elected, highly paid commissioners.
Fabian has voiced the following grave concerns about these proposals.
"Election of police commissioners by popular vote will profoundly change the relationship between the police and all our citizens. We will inevitably see candidates carrying party labels who will become pseudo politicians exercising potentially great power in a vacuum of accountability between successive elections. We risk seeing our policing, a service in which everyone must have trust, degenerating into the format of a bizarre beauty contest between competing candidates making macho promises for the districts they aspire to lead.
I wish to see policing remain a non party political issue led by gifted and upstanding professional policemen or policewomen who will brook no fear or favour in their care of local communities. We certainly do not need US-style elections with electors canvassed by people of doubtful plausibility seeking to impose a partisan view of policing or maybe simply aspiring to the high status and probable remuneration of the posts at over £100k per annum."
Fabian Hamilton 22nd July 2011