Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Law & Orde

January 2007- Chief of the Police Service of Northern Ireland, Hugh Orde, welcomes Sinn Fein's decision to participate in policing:

"I have always said that no ideology or individual should stand between the public and that service and that the community is entitled to have their public representatives hold this police service to account."

September 2009- Head of the Association of Chief Police Officers, Hugh Orde, condemns the idea of allowing people to elect police commissioners because of the dangers of extremists:

Asked whether he feared that a BNP or far-right candidate could seize upon this, Sir Hugh replied: "Yes, that is a risk. If you have a system whereby anyone can stand to be elected as the local police commissioner, you could have any Tom, Dick or Harriet standing. If they can muster enough support against a backdrop of public apathy, then of course it is a risk."

I guess some people aren't entitled to have their public representatives hold the police service to account after all.

Incidentally the chances of the BNP having a representative elected to be a police commissioner is trivial. As it is they gain seats in proportional representation systems because they only need 10% or so of the vote. The idea that they could win an election to a single office is absurd. They do very badly in council elections under FPTP because if voters can vote against the BNP they generally do. They could no more win an election in large constituency for one office than they could win a parliamentary constituency.

Then again ACPO is the Chief Constables' trade union so it is fairly obvious that they will oppose any move to diminish their power.



Mark said...

Sir Hugh Ordure's volte face on the desirability of elected 'extremists' holding the 'police service to account' is pretty despicable, and probably indicative of panic within ACPOs ranks. Well spotted again, Ross.

James Gilmour said...

You could hardly be more wrong about the BNP and FPTP.

To date, the BNP have won only three seats in PR elections. But they have won more than 70 (SEVENTY) seats in FPTP elections. In some council wards they hold all three seats, won with only a minority of the votes.

Ross said...

Edinburgh, the BNP have won a small number of seats under FPTP, but at a much lower rate than under PR. For example in June there were Euro elections held under PR and local elections held under FPTP.

In the Euros the BNP got 2/72 seats whereas in the locals they got 3 seats out of 2362, which places them at the same level as the Cornish nationalists.

James Gilmour said...

This is a ridiculous and invalid comparison and you know it is. Where they have contested seats, the BNP have been very successful under FPTP.

The main point is that FPTP is no barrier to BNP winning seats.

Ross said...

"This is a ridiculous and invalid comparison and you know it is. "

I don't see how it is invalid, the two elections were on the same day so the publicity would have been the same for both.

I suppose there is an argument that the BNP didn't stand in every council constituency but they put up over 400 candidates and presumably chose the seats that were the most favourable to them.

First past the post isn't an absolute barrier to the BNP but all minor parties do much worse under that system than under PR. This is especially so when so many people would vote tactically against the BNP.

Rob said...

ACPO isn't a trade union. It is worse than that - it is a private company. It is completely unaccountable to the public.