Today has seen Labours’ national launch of the Police and Crime Commissioner candidates for the election in November. What I really liked was Ed Miliband pointing out that while we didn’t want Police and crime commissioners, since they are here we must use the opportunity to fight hard for our candidates to get in the role, in order to protect our police services. Many people say that in Gloucestershire this will be all about which Tory is chosen, but I think that in Rupi Dhanda, Labour have a Candidate that has a lot going for her and has many qualities that none of the other candidates (including the whole Tory Shortlist) have got.
Ed said today “We didn’t seek these police commissioner elections – we thought that if you were spending £125 million most people would want that money spent on the police, not on new elections. But if these elections do go ahead – if the Government insists on them going ahead – we, Labour, are determined to make the best of a bad job.”
And he is right, we didn’t want these expensive elections, but I am pleased by his approach. It would be easy to just let these elections run and not put up much of a fight, but its great to see that we can take on a role like this and really put some “grunt” behind it which really is about using the role to stop the wholesale destruction of the Police Force.
Rupi herself is a great choice because she has a number of advantages, while not a politician herself, she obviously can draw on the experience of her husband, Parmjit, more importantly her professional experience in law gives her a real grounding and insight into the justice system, without treading into that domain of being an ex-copper or Policing Authority that would make for interesting relationships with the people she needs to work with. But I think this role is much more about the person since much of this role is about engaging with the community and eliciting their views, and Rupis skill in connecting with people is going to be a powerful asset.
So, while I was not too keen on the role itself (unless it came with a Bat phone and Bat Light) I am pleased with the opportunity that it has thrown up and that campaigning for a really electable candidate will show people that we are on their side.