Who wants police commissioners? Not me thank you.

Along with manty other Liberal Democrats I have signed the joint letter calling on this daft idea to be scrapped.

Sir, One of the concerns raised by the phone hacking furore is need for a clear separation between politicians and the police. They are both important pillars of the state but they can only work effectively when one sets strategy and one carries it out.

This is one of the chief reasons why many people in local government bitterly oppose the Government’s proposal to introduce elected police commissioners next May. We can think of no situation more confusing to all concerned than one where a politician is elected to lead the police but does not have any influence over their management. 

For this reason we ask the Government to drop the proposal for elected police commissioners, and to replace them with police boards which will work with local government and provide the transparency that is so badly needed.


Cllr Richard Kemp, Leader of the Liberal Democrats in Local Government

Cllr Brian Greenslade, Leader Liberal Democrats, Association of Police Authorities

Cllr Duwayne Brooks, Lewisham and Lib Dem lead on Safer Communities

Council Leaders (14) :

Cllr Gerald Vernon Jackson, Leader, Portsmouth City Council

Cllr Barbara Janke, Leader, Bristol City Council

Cllr Sian Reid, Leader, Cambridge City Council

Cllr Jeff Reid, Leader, Northumberland County Council

Cllr Paul Crossley, Leader, Bath and North East Somerset Council

Cllr Stuart Bray, Leader, Hinckley and Bosworth District Council

Cllr David Tutt, Leader, Eastbourne Borough Council

Cllr Dave Goddard, Leader, Stockport Metrpolitan Borough Council

Cllr Sian Reid, Leader, Cambridge City Council

Cllr John Boyce, Leader, Oadby and Wigston Borough Council

Cllr Ann Shaw, Leader, Three Rivers District Council

Cllr Rodney Berman, Leader, Cardiff Council

Cllr Anne Turrell, Leader, Colchester Borough Council

Cllr Brendan Jameson, Leader, South Lakeland District Council

Cllr David Budd, Leader, Purbeck District Council

Deputy/Portfolio holders where we are part of the administration (3) :

Cllr Dr Robin Studd, Deputy Leader, Newcastle Under Lyme Borough Council

Cllr David Watts, Cabinet Member for Economy and Planning and Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, Broxtowe Borough Council

Cllr Brian Simpson, Cabinet Member for Safer Communities, Scarborough Borough Council

Opposition and Group Leaders (68) :

Cllr Stephen Lambert, Leader, Liberal Democrat Group, Aylesbury Vale District Council

Cllr Gavin James, Leader, Liberal Democrat Group, Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council

Cllr Douglas Green, Leader, Liberal Democrat Group, Blackpool Borough Council

Cllr Sheryl Green, Leader of the Lib Dem Group, Bridgend Council

Cllr Mary Baldwin, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, Buckinghamshire County Council

Cllr Kilian Bourke, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, Cambridgeshire County Council

Cllr Nan Farmer, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, Carlisle City Council

Cllr Paul Hodgkinson, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, Cotswold District Council

Cllr Ian Stewart, Leader of the Opposition, Cumbria County Council

Cllr Nigel Martin, Leader, Liberal Democrat Group on Durham County Council

Cllr Mike Wood, Leader, East Hertfordshire District Council

Cllr Robin Baker, Liberal Democrat Group Leader Flintshire Council

Cllr Howard Henshaw, Liberal Democrat Group Leader, Fylde Borough Council

Cllr Steve Churchman, Lib Dem Group Leader, Gwynnedd Council

Cllr David Neighbour, Leader of the Opposition, Hart District Council

Cllr Peter Downes, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, Huntingdonshire District Council

Cllr Terry Stacy, Leader of the Opposition, Islington Council

Cllr Reg Barry, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, Isle of Wight Council

Cllr Trudy Dean, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, Kent County Council

Cllr Kath Pinnock, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, Kirklees Council

Cllr Bill Winlow, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, Lancashire County Council

Cllr Simon Galton, Liberal Democrat Group Leader, Leicestershire County Council

Cllr David Franks, Leader, Luton Borough Council

Cllr Paula Keaveney, Leader of the Opposition, Liverpool City Council

Cllr Fran Wilson, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, Maidstone Borough Council

Cllr Marc Ramsbottom, Leader of the Opposition, Manchester City Council

Cllr Paul Williams, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, Mid Devon District Council

Cllr Graham Knight, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, Mid Sussex District Council

Cllr David Faulkner, Leader of the Oppositon, Newcastle City Council

Cllr Ed Townsend, Leader, Liberal Democrat Group, Newport City Council

Cllr Paul Morse, Leader, Liberal Democrat Group, Norfolk County Council

Cllr David Milsted, Leader, Liberal Democrat Group, North Dorset District Council

Cllr Brian Jefferies, Leader, Liberal Democrat Group, North Riding of Yorkshire Council

Cllr Brendan Glynane, Leader of the Opposition, Northamptonshire County Council

Cllr Geoff Webber, Leader, Liberal Democrat Group, North Yorkshire County Council

Cllr Howard Sykes, Leader of the Opposition, Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council

Cllr Stephen Brown, Leader of the Opposition, Oxford City Council

Cllr Nick Sandford, Lib Dem Group Leader, Peterborough Council

Cllr Kevin Curry, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, Powys Council

Cllr Daisy Benson, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, Reading Borough Council

Cllr Mike Powell, Lib Dem Group Leader, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council

Cllr Stephen Knight, Leader of the Opposition, Richmond upon Thames

Cllr Norman Owen, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, Salford City Council

Cllr Nigel Hartin, Leader of the Opposition, Shropshire Council

Cllr Robin Parker, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, Stevenage Borough Council

Cllr Maureen Rigg, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, Stockton Borough Council

Cllr Sam Crabb, Leader of the Opposition, Somerset County Council

Cllr Murray Gray, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, South Norfolk District Council

Cllr Keith Baldry, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, South Hams District Council

Cllr Adrian Vinson, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, Southampton City Council

Cllr David Turner, Leader of the Opposition, South Oxfordshire District Council

Cllr Christina Jebb, Leader of the Opposition, Staffordshire County Council

Cllr Kathy Pollard, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, Suffolk County Council

Cllr Chris Botten, Leader, Liberal Democrat Group, Tandridge District Council

Cllr Ross Henley, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, Taunton Deane Borough Council

Cllr Alan Connett, Leader of the Opposition, Teignbridge District Council

Cllr Mark Cooper, Lib Dem Group Leader, Test Valley Borough Council

Cllr Jerry Roodhouse, Liberal Democrat Group Leader, Warwickshire County Council

Cllr Jeff Brooks, Liberal Democrat Group Leader, West Berkshire Council

Cllr Alison Clish-Green, Liberal Democrat Group Leader, West Devon District Council

Cllr Jon Hubbard, Liberal Democrat Group Leader, Wiltshire Council

Cllr Leslie Kearney, Liberal Democrat Group Leader, Winchester City Council

Cllr Richard Sharp, Leader of the Opposition, Woking Borough Council

Cllr Prue Bray, Leader of the Opposition, Wokingham Council

Cllr Liz Tucker, Leader of the Lib Dem Group, Worcestershire County Council

Cllr Ian Shires, Leader of the Lib Dem Group, Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council

Cllr Margaret Rowley, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, Wychavon District Council

Councilman Edward Lord, City of London Corporation

Police Authority members (21):

Cllr Claire Gordon, Deputy Chair, Avon and Somerset Police Authority

Cllr Sylvia Angiontti, South Yorkshire Police Authority and Sheffield City Council

Cllr Peter Moore, South Yorkshire Police Authority and Sheffield City Council

Cllr Brian Preston, Vice Chairman, Devon and Cornwall Police Authority

Cllr James Joyce, Norfolk Police Authority

Cllr Brian Hannah, Norfolk Police Authority

Cllr Andrew Smith, Sussex Police Authority

Cllr Ron Tindall, Hertfordshire Police Authority

Cllr David Wood, Suffolk Police Authority

Cllr Geoff Howe, Merseyside Police Authority

Cllr Derek Scudder, Hertfordshire Police Authority

Cllr Pat Colclough, Manchester Police Authority

Cllr Sam Crooks, Thames Valley Police Authority

Cllr Kevin Wilkins, Cambridgeshire Police Authority

Cllr Paula Riches, Hampshire Police Authority

Cllr Adrian Collett, Hampshire Police Authority

Cllr Jacqui Gasson, South Wales Police Authority

Cllr Keith Longdon, Nottinghamshire Police Authority

Cllr Chris Davis, Warwickshire Police Authority

Cllr David Bill, Leicestershire Police Authority

Cllr Keith Orrell, City of York Council

Cllr Bill Crowther, Gloucestershire Police Authority

Others (5) :

Cllr Susan Jefferies, Dorset County Council

Cllr John Tanner, North Dorset District Council

Cllr Mike Wyatt, North West Leicestershire District Council

Cllr Colin Richards, Isle of Wight Council

Cllr Bill Shepherd, Newcastle City Council

Total – 115 sigs

Latest news letter from Gary Davies our local police Chief Superintendent

Date:     14 April 2011

Dear Colleague

Crime is down for another year  which  is an exceptional story and one which we should celebrate. Total crime reported  in Bath and North east Somerset fell by  1.9% last year  which means there were  203 less victims of crime in our area. This is really good news especially when you add it to what is now about a decade of falling crime in B&NES, yes B&NES, not everywhere.

I am always conscious when quoting numbers about the old phrase ‘if you torture statistics long enough they’ll say anything’ and so I tend to focus on house burglaries as a check of the accuracy of the trend.   I do this on the basis that we know almost everyone tells us when their house is broken into but not necessarily if they are a victim of other types of crime.  I am, therefore, delighted to be able to tell you that the number of houses broken into across B&NES fell from  498 last year to  410 this year, a reduction of  17.5%.  If you look back in time in 2002 1,600 houses were broken into in our area in that year.  The fact that  410 were this year is a remarkable success story  especially when you consider that in our relatively small area, as a result of much of the work we do in partnership and focusing on prolific offenders, there has been over 1,100 fewer victims of domestic burglary than there were nine years ago.   I am also pleased to tell you that we achieved the highest overall detection rate in the Force at 37.4%.  This is the second highest detection rate of all of our most similar group of areas nationally.

Statistics are one thing but bravery and heroism is another.   A truly remarkable act of courage by one of my Officers saved a man in a burning car recently.  PC  Adam Gale and PC  Chris Minty  were called to a car on fire.  On their arrival they saw a man slumped in the car with smoke emerging from underneath. PC  Gale approached the car in order to free the man but couldn’t gain entry, despite repeated attempts to smash the car window with his asp he could not break it.   By now flames were flickering from under the car and it was catching alight.  He eventually smashed the window but couldn’t get access.  The car was at serious risk of exploding and so  PC  Minty called his colleague back.  As he retreated he realised the man had now stirred and opened the door. PC Gale returned to the car and helped the man escape and just after they dragged him away the car exploded.

It was with great sadness that James Bubear ‘s  body was recovered from the river.  I am sure you will join with me in sending our sincere condolences to the family at what must be a very difficult time.  I have been in contact with the Council to see if we can commence a joint piece of work to look at safety along the river bank.  Colleagues in the Fire and Rescue Service have also been discussing this. I do believe that we should look at the issue to see if anything to prevent such a tragedy as this can be done.  It  is quite complex with a range of different landowners, some who are known, some who are not.   Also the provision of life saving equipment and the ability to prevent if from being vandalised should be included in the discussion.

Two celebratory events took place this week.  The first was an opportunity I create each year and that is to thank the top ten highest performers of my staff and also the top ten people identified by their manager as having the most enthusiasm, commitment and contributed the most to team working.    It is always a privilege and once again it was this year.

The second event is the Annual Parade of the Special Constabulary which took place yesterday evening in the Guildhall.  If anyone thought volunteering has just been invented well these people have been doing it week in and week out;  some for over 15 years.  The level of commitment shown is remarkable.  It is one thing to put your self in danger as part of your job, it is another as a volunteer.  The evening is a real opportunity to thank them all for the tremendous work they do on behalf of everyone.

Kind regards.