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Police Reform Agenda ‘Is A Dog’s Breakfast’

Shadow minister says Labour is making the best of the government’s bad job in fielding elected commissioner candidates

The introduction of police and crime commissioners is a “dog’s breakfast”, is costly and should never have been implemented, the Shadow Policing Minister has said.

Speaking during a question-and-answer session at the ACPO summer conference, David Hanson re-iterated that the Labour party had opposed the Conservative policy of axing police authorities and introducing elected individuals.

¬I warned the government against police and crime commissioners – I am positive person by nature but I am negative about what (ministers) are doing.¬

But with the policy now set to become a reality in November, Mr Hanson said that his party had no choice but to field candidates and to try to make the system work.

The opposition MP told delegates during the seminar in Manchester: “We are where we are at the moment – we have to make the best of a dog’s breakfast.

“I warned the government against police and crime commissioners – I am positive person by nature but I am negative about what (ministers) are doing.”

Mr Hanson asserted that the creation of the new police governance system would cost the taxpayer around £100 million and he had hoped the move would not happen.

Elsewhere, he said that the Labour party – had it been elected – had planned to cut central government grants to police authorities by 12 per cent over the period of the Comprehensive Spending Review, far less than the government’s 20 per cent.

The MP said that HMIC agreed that this reduction would not affect front line policing.

But in responding to the claims, Policing and Criminal Justice Minister Nick Herbert took issue with the governance figure, pointing out that the cost would be closer to £75 million.

Mr Herbert also said all three political parties accepted that reform of police governance was needed – the Liberal Democrats had suggested directly elected police authorities.

He pointed out that the government agenda was underpinned by difficult economic situation and that the policies had been clearly set out after the election of 2010.

Mr Herbert said: “We were clear about them in the Policing in the 21st Century document and we stuck to them – but we have also been willing to listen.”

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