WHAT a ludicrous suggestion by politicians to install police commissioners in charge of forces’ finance in 41 areas, to replace the police authorities.
Where is the evidence that this system will be cheaper or more efficient?
I understand this has been the arrangement in the United States and it has been found, in some cases, to encourage serious corruption and they are currently looking at our system.
Having served on the Wiltshire Police Authority for three years, I can’t believe that one individual could possibly encompass the task of overseeing force finances more efficiently than we did.
We had a monthly meeting with the chief constable and other senior officers and members of the force treasury department. Very active discussions ensued and difficult questions were asked. Scrutiny of the finances was well covered.
How on earth can one individual, however well paid – between £65,000 and £100,000, I understand – and well-meaning, possibly take account of overall finance, even having power to sack the chief constable?
Surely, 17 or so members drawn from all parts of the community can give a fairer, more open assessment than one individual, however competent.
It is the possibility of political bias – John Prescott has already put his name forward – that causes me concern.
Change is necessary, especially in this world of fast-moving globalisation, but there used to be a saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
St Mary’s Close