Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill

Memorandum submitted by D G Fryer (PR 62)

I am a retired Police Officer (Sergeant) who served for 30 years in the Lancashire and Hampshire Constabularies. In those three decades, I cannot recall any problems with the present systems of Police Authorities not being capable of fulfilling their legal responsibilities to the communities they serve.

In the 20 years since I retired, there has never been any problem manifested itself therefore, I cannot see any reason whatsoever other than political ideology for the introduction by means of election of a Police and Crime Commissioner for Hampshire and the Isle of Wight or for that matter anywhere else in England and Wales.

According to the Hampshire Police Authority Chairwoman, Ms Jacqui Rayment, this could lead to the politicalisation of police services - I totally agree. Also, when police authorities are being forced to introduce drastic savings in funding, £2M spent on electing the Commissioner is quite frankly nonsense. What people must realise, is that the Commissioner for this Police area - which is one of the largest in the UK, will not be able to fulfill his/her legal obligations without a substantial support team which will not be located in one centre but due to the size of the area and its diversity, there will be a need for area office staff which will come at a higher price than at present.

In conclusion, Police Authorities which without question operate very efficiently should be retained. It seems that the people behind this proposal have a fixation with the way law enforcement organisations operate in the United States where they have elected Sheriffs/Marshalls etc., something which is completely alien and totally unnecessary in the UK.

I am not against progress but this proposal to me does not contribute anything positive to modern day police operations and organisations. It is an unnecessary layer of bureaucracy which is contrary to the Conservative Party manifesto which extolled the virtues of minimum government and bureaucracy being imposed on the community.

January 2010