Blair's police commissioner boycott ''silly''
22 October 2012
The former Metropolitan Police chief Sir Ian Blair – now a Labour peer – has urged people not to vote in the police and crime commissioners (PCC) elections in November. The Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said Blair's stance was "silly".
"I've never said this before but I actually hope people don't vote because that is the only way we are going to stop this," Blair told Sky News. "If they were going to break policing up, do it in a completely different way, small cities and small towns, perfect. But that is not what you have got. How can one person represent the Conservative shires of Oxfordshire and Slough? What is this?"
He added: "Remember the police authorities are being swept away, they are being replaced by a police and crime panel who can't even talk to the chief constable. This is just a very strange issue to come forward with at such a difficult time for the country."
However, Grayling said that an ex police chief should not be actively discouraging the public from exercising their democratic right to vote.
"It's a very silly thing to say. I'm very sorry he said that," he told the BBC. "Nobody should ever look at a democratic election as something they should not take part in. We should not have a former senior police officer making a silly comment like that."
The chairman of the Transitional Board of the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners, Simon Duckworth, said calls to boycott the elections were "deeply irresponsible".
"Choosing a PCC is the public's chance to exert proper influence over the policing that they pay for and a good turnout on November 15th is in everyone's interest," he said.
• On the day that the government is posting 21m leaflets to households across England and Wales about the PCC elections, Kent candidate Ann Barnes said people should vote 'Independent' in all areas.
"If ever there was proof that we shouldn't have party politicians within a mile of direct control over the police it's the 'Omnishambles 2' of the run up to these elections," she said. "We are in the ludicrous situation of the government spending millions on these leaflets – but they don't mention the candidates. We have had the chief whip having to resign after a disgraceful outburst with the police. We have had leading figures like Ian Blair urging people not to vote. We have an election called in dark and cold November against all the advice of respected bodies such as the Electoral Reform Society. Later today, we will have yet another government announcement about 'law and order'. If anything shows that we shouldn't let party politicians directly run our police forces this is it. I am urging people all across the country to send a loud and clear message to Westminster by voting Independent."
Sir Ian Blair has sunk to a new low with his nonsensical appeal for the citizens of England and Wales not to vote in the forthcoming PCC elections. The types of country where dissastisfied opposition politicians call for a poll boycott on a regular basis include Syria, Cuba, Venezuela, numerous African states etc.
It has no place in a democracy such as the UK.
Name not supplied
Sir Ian Blair is spot on. We don't want politicised police where only the big political parties can effectively campaign for commissioners. Why not elect local commissioners for health, employment etc?
Marijke ten Bos - Durham, UK
Is there any way they could include on the voting slip an extra vote option, - I believe in the democratic process, I've come out to register my Vote, but I think this is a deeply flawed idea and do not wish to endorse it by voting for any candidate......?
Name not provided