There has been some talk that voting should be compulsory. Yes people died to allow all to vote – but it is an opportunity – it should not become a requirement, with further policing to force us.
As I’ve said before I suspect the lack of turnout is the belief that voting doesn’t work: that first past the post system does not mean our choice will even count; or that all the candidates are much the same – and none of them are who we would like or who will make a positive difference.
Many people in Britain feel that voting for their local police commissioner is not something they want to bother going to the poll booths for. Candidates mostly stand for a political party and the ones I have read of do not impress.
What I fear this move is about is creating pleasing seeming statistics, and more “tough on crime” talk. It could make life hard for both the police and the public.
What policing should be about:
‘Police’ is an unfortunate phase, a verb that means to nose and control. What we need is a body who helps keep us safe through laws only needed for protection – and not the powerful few. Laws should not be excuses to collect revenue for governments through fines. They should not be nannying, controlling punitive rules. We should not fear or distrust our police, who should not be curtailing freedom of expression.
The Green Party, who did not want this to come to vote, put questions to the candidates, including public accountability and the right to peaceful protest.
Nationally, we read regularly of police brutalities to protesters; and in the last week, there has been news that questions the behaviour of undercover police.
My local force has recently blasted front pages with their sprees of raids, and threaten more; their ‘message to criminals’ is, when finally deciphered, is aimed at minor crimes and a show of strength. Raids should be about emergency rescue, not minor drug dealers. It also publicly sent messages to potential kerb crawlers, displaying their car number plates.
Meanwhile, it made reporting crime (which was largely down to their lack of doing their duty) more trouble than it was worth and failed to follow up a complaint for inappropriate behaviour.
I think many of us have mixed stories of the police, and as we pay for them through council tax, they especially need to be accountable to us and doing something worthwhile.
As there is no space on the voting form for ‘none of these’ or ‘I don’t want this’, I am saying it here, and making clear what kind of police force we expect and need, and making a stand against the force we often actually get.
I hope the prediction of under 15% turnout is true – do not we have a law that there needs to be a minimum proportion for a vote to count? Most of us don’t want this imposed on us – isn’t that a voice in itself?