As dust settles on the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) election fiasco, the search for culprits begins. Who thought this daft idea would inspire the public?
PCC plans were brewed in Policy Exchange, the think tank set up by Conservative MP Nick Boles, now planning minister. Two months have now passed since the police minister Damian Green told one of the think tank’s many meetings on the subject: “Policy Exchange should be rightly proud of the PCC policy, having been there for its development right through to its delivery. Not many think tanks can claim that.” Nor can many think tanks claim such close involvement in so dismal a flop.
Policy Exchange’s “head of crime and justice” Blair Gibbs played a key role in pushing for what he called the “boldest reform of policing since the 1960s”. Gibbs came to Policy Exchange from the Taxpayers Alliance, where he was director, marking his transition from supposed guardian of taxpayer cash to promoter of its waste. London escaped PCC elections but it can’t escape Gibbs: he is now Boris Johnson’s police adviser.
Policy Exchange’s campaign was backed and funded by accountants Deloitte. In June, the firm paid for an expensive opinion poll for Policy Exchange to build support for the scheme. Alas, while 34 percent liked the sound of PCCs, another 34 percent thought them a bad idea and 32 percent “didn ‘t know”. Deloitte, led by “partner, policing and Home Office lead” James Taylor, definitely thought they were a good idea, not only funding Policy Exchange but issuing a guide and press releases.
Police force – Deloitte – http://owl.li/gjgVU
Deloitte said the new PCCs must “get to grips with current policing operations” and “focus on reforming pay, pensions and paperwork, the financial management of their force, and cutting costs”, helpfully offering Deloitte’s services in this new, difficult work.
It’s hard not to see Deloitte’s campaign as a scheme to drum up new business, touting for work “cutting costs” for the new PCCs having lumbered us with this expensive waste of time and money in the first place.