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Thread: Police Commissioner Elections - Justice Poorly Served?

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    Default Police Commissioner Elections - Justice Poorly Served?

    There was something innately disturbing about the very concept of police commissioner elections being contested by the UK political parties - even if comparisons with the RUC, BOSS or the Securitate would have been inappropriate, the process, and thus the policing system seems widely open to political and populist manipulation. Thankfully, the UK public have responded with apathy (c. 15% turnout), and many independent candidates have been elected to the positions.
    My political compass:
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    Politics.ie Member southwestkerry's Avatar
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    ... for a moment their I thought this was something going on in Kerry.
    A ship at harbour is safe but that is not what ships were built for.

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    Politics.ie Member Mackers's Avatar
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    In some parts less than 10% bothered to vote. It's the Tories idea I think to go to the US Sheriff type set up, I think. Going by the Sheriff of Nottingham I don't think it's a runner.
    War doesn't work. Give peace a chance.

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    It was always a silly idea.

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    I have to say, I dislike this development.

    It is very USA of them.

    It will lead to alot of rabble rousing policing.

    Just like Sheriff Joe in Arizona.

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    Politics.ie Member Mackers's Avatar
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    Get off yer milk float and drink yer horse. Won't travel well in the shires.
    War doesn't work. Give peace a chance.

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    For a moment I was almost surprised that John Prescott lost his race to become a Commissioner but then when I look back on his career, not so much.
    Considering the turnout and our own recent referendum, is there such a thing as too much democracy?

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    Politics.ie Member Finbar10's Avatar
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    Was a bit dubious of this particular approach, though at least it does show the UK hasn't been afraid to experiment with the police appointments process, and has cared about and taken some thought over the years about how to best balance operational police independence and democratic accountability. Local policing authorities with a mix of magistrates, local politicians (proportionately representing the parties in the local authority) and independent members have worked pretty well in this regard. Virtually no attention has been given to this matter here. Unsurprisingly our politicians seem happy with a system where all promotions from the Garda mid-ranks up must get political approval from the cabinet/minister for Justice. We saw where that lack of any buffer got us in the past with GUBU affair and wiretapping of journalists at the behest of Haughey. According to Jim Kirby (senior Dept. Justice civil servant at the time) in a relatively recent IT article:
    “As taoiseach he thought he was monarch of all he surveyed,” Kirby says. “He controlled the police to a huge extent. He liked to contact middle-ranking civil servants all over the place, getting them to do things, sometimes without the knowledge of their superiors or ministers, as was borne out by the evidence given before the Moriarty tribunal. And if they weren’t prepared to do the things he wanted them to do they were effectively sidelined.
    Don't think much in the way of checks-and-balances or buffers between politicians and police have been put in place since. Much the same probably holds for the judiciary. In a short recent letter to the IT, Prof. David Gwynn Morgan points out that we have gradually been left as one of the very few remaining first-world countries where the executive directly appoints judges in a non-transparent manner:
    The fact is that in almost all other jurisdictions over the past 20 or so years the system by which the government (originally the monarch) selected the judges with little or no consultation has been rejected or radically changed.
    He doesn't seem to rate at all the ineffectual token fig-leaf of the JAAB (Judicial Appointments Advisory Board) set up in the wake of the embarrassing Harry Whelan affair.

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