At present it’s surpassed even itself as the ‘top of the cock up’s’ department of government with Theresa May and Nick Herbert doing a fair impression of Laurel and Hardy each with their comic hand on the tiller ‘controlling’ this department.
Messrs May and Herbert, both charged with seeing through the creation of Police and Crime Commissioners, have hardly covered themselves in glory. It’s been disaster after disaster with fiasco’s about whether Magistrates could or could not stand, candidates being excluded on the most trivial prosecutions 40 years ago when they were under the age of 16 and finally suggestions the electoral process is in effect being gerrymandered in order to exclude independent candidates. They’ve not done a lot better with the Borders Agency.
However the latest diatribe from Nick Herbert really snaps the cracker. It would be quite funny if it weren’t so serious. In response to mounting national concerns about the independence of the police he cited the need for all Commissioners to take an oath – as if that’ll create some kind of guarantee of impartiality.
He’s living in cloud cuckoo land. Perhaps we should have oaths not to fiddle your expenses, not to allegedly ask your wife to take a speeding offence for you or not to influence the line of a road to increase the value of your land. All of these politicians had agreed oaths and codes of conduct until they came out of their ears and yet…
One of the best critiques of the oath I have seen is from Julie Nesbit of the Police Federation which, regardless of whether commissioners will comply with the oath or not, deals with the actual wording of the oath itself. Staggeringly it seems to give commissioners carte blanche to intervene if they think a particular investigation or arrest is “unreasonable”. Great for Boris because he likes meddling in police matters
Herbert has been roundly ridiculed. So he should be. The Oath includes:
‘I will not seek to influence or prevent any lawful and reasonable investigation or arrest’
I really do despair. You couldn’t make it up. ‘Honest guv, I’ll comply with the oath’. I can hear it now.
But enough of the flippancy. This IS important. You can make your views on the oath known to the Home Office.
Difficult to conclude other than with this, as Laurel and Hardy would say, ‘another fine mess’.