10 September 2012

Some thoughts on the recent reshuffle

Kam Gill's avatar

Kamaljeet Gill reflects on the recent reshuffle and looks forward to a new relationship with a new Policing Minister.

Photo: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1381255

​As the dust has settled following Tuesday’s reshuffle, now seems an appropriate opportunity to reflect a little on the departing policing Minister and think about what we would like from the one incoming.

Due to the nature of his brief StopWatch debated with the former Policing Minister on a number of occasions, even notably provoking a personal rebuke for “yelling at (him) in the press”. Our initial debates centred on reforms to the monitoring of Stop and Account. In defending the changes that removed the requirement to record the use of the power Mr Herbert claimed that doing so would save a potential 450,000 hours of policing time. StopWatch calculations based on the Government’s own figures found that for this to be true, the average officer would be required to spend 5 hours on each stop.

Mr Herbert is probably best known for spearheading the introduction of Police and Crime Commissioners. These represent a massive change to policing in England and Wales, one which StopWatch have been monitoring closely. We are particularly concerned about the need for a sufficient mandate for any commissioner. We are also concerned that low turnouts will benefit extremist candidates like those from the English Defence League and English Democrats running in Bedfordshire and the British National Party who have suggested they will run in the West Midlands.

Discussion about the reasons behind his departure are likely to continue for some time. However, StopWatch looks forward to engaging with his replacement Damian Green, and hopes for fruitful discussions of accountability and policing from someone who has been at the sharp end of the policing in the past.