Police chiefs fear extremists winning seats on police authorities
There is a real possibility of extremists winning seats on police authorities if ministers go ahead with plans for direct elections, the country’s senior police chiefs have said.
The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) said that rather than holding elections to increase politicians’ influence over local policing, “the public needs to be protected from political control of the service.”
Senior officers are already extremely concerned at the way in which Boris Johnson, the Conservative Mayor of London, forced the resignation of Sir Ian Blair as Metropolitan Police Commissioner.
In a stark warning to politicians, the ACPO cautioned against “tinkering” with the operational independence of chief constables.
The Times revealed today that the far-right British National Party is confident of winning seats on police authorities when elections are introduced.
All the main political parties favour increased democratic accountability of policing, either by electing members of authorities or local police commissioners.
Simon Darby, deputy leader of the BNP, said that he believed his party’s “no-nonsense” approach to crime would win it representation and influence over policing.