Thursday, 31 December 2009

Jack Straw and the Police Vote

Iain Dale reckons that Jack Straw has lost the Police vote for Labour by describing them as being 'workshy and lazy.' If you listen to the actual conversation on Radio 4's Today at 08.40 hrs this morning Jack Straw doesn't say that Police Officers are lazy or workshy only that some of them prefer to be in the warmth of the Police Station and that he is not convinced by the overwork argument. I personally think that Jack Straw's comments are a sweeping generalisation of a Police service most of whose members joined to 'catch baddies' as my ex colleague Steve Jones describes them. Most Police Officers I know are totally frustrated by the bureaucracy and the performance culture within the service which results in larger and larger numbers of officers being taken from the frontline to work behind desks. I wonder where Jack will be tonight? Will he be walking the streets of Blackburn with a small contingent of Police Officers? I doubt it!

Simon Reed the General Secretary of the Police Federation explains the situation succintly and accurately:
"It wasn't police officers who brought in 3,000 new laws, it wasn't police officers who brought in a 30-page prosecution file and it wasn't police officers who brought in multiple forms and authorities to use a pair of binoculars," he said. "This was all done by politicians. Police officers are not the architects of bureaucracy, they and the public are the victims of it."

But what of Iain Dale's question, has Jack lost the Police vote for Labour?
From my own experience of the Police I think the answer is no, even in 1997 at Labour's high water mark I don't recall Police Officers being particularly enthused by Labour and I only recall one retired Police Officer entering politics on the Labour side and he wasn't particularly successful!

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