Monday, 23 August 2010

The BBC vs democratic policing

Daniel Hannan has a great article today about the BBC's bias against elected sheriffs, as evidenced in a Radio 4 PM programme, which suggests democratic accountability would somehow transform our green and pleasant land into a Deep South dustbowl, complete with Confederate flags, rampaging rednecks, and Boss Hogg.

The segment starts about 18 minutes and 18 seconds in:
Are you interested in voting for the people who run your local police force? It's one of the government's 'big ideas' for England and Wales. The first elections could be in 2012. It would be an innovation here, but in the United States it's common practice. Reporting for PM from Alabama, and there's more on the blog, Micheal Buchanan ...
Here's a taste of Buchanan's reporting (to replicate his condescension, read it with a cultured Scottish accent):
I went for a spin through rural Alabama with Jimmy Ray Swindle ... Were he to win in November, Sheriff Swindle [a former radio DJ] would not be the only the only law enforcement novice in Alabama. Also standing for sheriff's office across the state this year are a swimming pool installer, a pharmacist, and a church minister. The bar to running for sheriff is pretty low in Alabama ...

Drive around Alabama, and the freeway signs act as an aide memoire to America's civil rights past, Selma, Birmingham, Montgomery flash past, cities where the elected police chiefs played their part in enforcing the will of the majority.
Hannan was right to describe this as "a snotty, sneering, superior piece":
You get the idea. Allow people to choose who directs their local police force and you are likely to get racists, half-wits or crooks – often with hilarious redneck names. Just in case we missed the message, the correspondent spelt it out with his closing words: “While popular elections may increase direct accountability, it [sic] doesn’t necessarily lead to better policing”.

Better for whom? Who is better placed to decide on a local police force’s priorities than a local voter? Some areas might opt for men like Arpaio, though the sheriffs in, say, Vermont, are a very different breed. That’s the beauty of the system: law enforcement reflects the local temper.

Not that the BBC is alone. The unelected beneficiaries of the existing system have also been mounting a fierce campaign against democratic policing. Their favourite argument is that, if you have elections, the BNP might win. Well, yes, they might. But, as a rule, they don’t: the far-Left BNP controls just 0.3 per cent of council seats and 0 per cent of Westminster seats. Still, if the logic of ACPO the Police Authorities and the BBC is sound, why not do away with elections altogether? I mean, how can people be trusted not to pick the wrong candidates?
How indeed? Far better to trust in the Philosopher Kings.

1 comment:

  1. In response to why the sheriff should be an elected citizen and not a law enforcement officer I can make my case clear and to the point. Checks and Balances. Without an elected sheriff the citizens have no public official to turn to when they need immediate relief on pressing local concerns. For instance if the sheriff, who happens to be the highest elected public official in most US counties is also a sworn police officer he always has the conflict of reverting to his "COP" hat instead of listening to valid concerns surrounding his department. When it involves issues concerning his officers who will he side with: You the citizen, or his fellow police chaps? That is why the danger here in America is not that we elect our chief law enforcement officer but when you get a real Nazi type police officer who thinks all citizens are criminal and uses his department to intimidate and harrass instead of serve and protect. I hope this clears this issue up concerning my campaign to free the citizens of Fayette, Alabama from one such police officer who was elected four years ago and since has arrested nearly 10% of our population and is kicking down doors without warrants, starving the inmates for his own personal profit (anything over $1.75 a day per inmate the sheriff gets to pocket. so if the state pays 10 dollars for an inmate awaiting trial the sheriff legally pockets 8.25 of it.) Sad thing is that people are falling for these Gestopo techniques and actions more and more. As long as it isn't them. They just don't understand that they may be very well NEXT! Then who will be there to help protect you when the man you elected is reading you your right to remain silent. Always remember. "Checks and Balances." History should have taught all of us not to entrust too much power in any one man regardless of locality.
    Jimmy Ray Swindle
    former sheriff candidate
    Fayette, Al USA