Why UK Police privatisation may have exposed the political underbelly of the Right



For those who weren’t aware of it before, there is a move to politicize policing within the UK. The Police Federation tweeps who report on this are angry about what they see occurring, particularly the loss of professional neutrality and the glaring inefficiencies of those private firms bidding to replace them.


Last week, however, these tweeps kicked off big time over a tweet sent by a bloke called Blair Gibbs from an outfit called Policy Exchange. I didn’t quite get what they were so angry about but angry they were and angry they still are, as this tweet and the responses show:

The problem was that I didn’t know enough of the background to fully appreciate exactly how and why Blair Gibbs‘ tweet was so offensive, so I did my own research.


There is a remarkable variation in the stories surrounding Policy Exchange, which are especially telling, depending upon the kind of website you visit. Anyone involved with opposing the privatization of the NHS will recognise the emerging pattern of business interests and MP’s. 

It would seem that different right-wing and inefficient ‘think-tanks’ have been handed the responsibility of privatizing two areas of public safety and concern, regardless of their ability to do the task in the interests of the public. I’m grateful to Mr. Gibbs again for demonstrating, so admirably, exactly which side his bread is buttered. For this example, we have to shift to the matter of electing Police Commissioners.


In November 2012, Britain will see the first PCC Elections. Mr. Gibbs describes it thus. It is a breathtaking piece of misinformation. He lauds…


In exactly three months, something rare and wonderful will happen — a national election on a single issue that the public care deeply about. On November 15 they will get to choose their new Police & Crime Commissioner (PCC).

Actually, when looked with less ‘spin’, there are significant problems with having a single issue election outside the normal May election processes. This is in addition to the Home Office dragging it’s feet over actually telling the electorate about it. One might be forgiven for thinking that Mr. Gibb’s is suffering from cognitive dissonance – the projected turnout is so low as to suggest that the public don’t give a damn, except… perhaps that’s the way it’s supposed to be. With that kind of a low turn-out, rigging marginals ought to be relatively easy but I’m sure that would never have crossed Policy Exchange’s mind at any point.


Nevertheless, were Mr. Gibbs the efficient professional acting in the public’s interest, we might have thought he would be concerned about this. Clearly he is not even though the Electoral Reform Society says


 “From calling a poll in November, to holding back on any opportunity for candidates to make their case to voters, the government seems to have done everything in its power to keep polling stations empty.”


Whilst there are those who have been slower in understanding what is happening here, the police are often among the first to spot wrong-doing because it’s their profession. They’ve had to watch the evidence pile up around them whilst the services has been systematically dismembered. Then they are instructed to sort out the Olympic FUBARs created by a firm bidding for their jobs. Gibbs’ priapic tweet was the final straw. It is really not a good idea to piss off the Police.


Although some of those in political power are highly impressed with themselves, they frequently fail to demonstrate the kind of social responsibility clearly manifested by those who actually work in the public sector. The police work for the public and the good police officers want it to stay that way. What a shame about so many of  senior management who seem to be already feasting at the privatization carve-up. The problem is that they cannot help but boast about it in one way or another.


This is the mistake Blair Gibbs made. He boasted about his power. This crowingly apocalyptic tweet from a think-tank that deems itself a charity, has been caught falsifying evidence, which hides its funding and yet directly advises the Prime Minister, really does give the game away. This man cannot see anything but his own agenda. This is the man who serves the kind of public who care deeply about PCC elections when the general public appear to be being deliberately excluded from accessible information.  If his cognitive dissonance keeps up, I’m sure Gibbs’ will keep representing his ‘public’. Whether any of them are fit to hold public office is another matter entirely.


If we’ve got to have them, I’d prefer the Four Horsemen to be on the side of Social Responsibility, personal, public and corporate, because otherwise there will be hell to pay and the public will be picking up the bill. Again. Which, I suspect, is what these carpetbaggers have been planning all along, but that’s just my opinion.


Whether all of the above meets the definition of legal or lawful is another issue that troubles me, but that’s a matter for the police to decide.


From Federation tweets, it’s starting to look as though they’ve made up their minds.





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