Having looked at the details of the voting system for the PCC elections I was amused to find that in the event of a tie, the Returning Officer will draw lots to decide the winner (Section 4.8 of Schedule 9 of the Act*). Drawing lots sounds much more civilised that “decided by the toss of a coin” or even “truncheons at dawn”!
Drawn lots or not, the elected Commissioner will take office on November 22 and will serve until the next election, scheduled for May 2016. After that elections will be held every four years. The Commissioner can only be elected for two consecutive terms.
I’m grateful to the candidates for engaging in the debate on this blog. To keep the ball rolling here are two more questions.
Question 3) British Cycling, the national governing body for cycling, is calling for urgent action to make the justice system fairer for cyclists and other road users who are hurt or seriously injured on the country’s roads. They believe the charges brought and sentences given do not reflect the seriousness of collisions when drivers are at fault and cyclists are injured or killed. This was debated in the House of Commons on 17 October and Justice Minister Helen Grant MP agreed to meet with British Cycling to discuss the issues. Question 3 is: although sentencing is not part of the PCC’s remit the importance the police attach to investigating criminal driving offences, and the line they take discussing appropriate charges with the CPS is. What are your views on the merits or otherwise of British Cycling’s concerns, and what would your guidance to the Chief Constable be?
Question 4) The Government says "PCCs will be required to swear an oath of impartiality when they are elected to office". However as far as I can discover the Act* creating PCCs does not mention ‘impartiality’ and the wording of the oath has not yet been decided. I suspect that the oath of impartiality is little more than a gesture to placate the “keep politics out of policing” faction. So Question 4 is: apart from obvious conflicts of interest in personal or financial matters which would be illegal anyway, can you give an example of a situation in which a PCC might justifiably be accused of failing to be impartial?
*The Act is The Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011