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Clause 1 — Police and crime commissioners

Part of Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill – in the House of Commons at 5:00 pm on 12th September 2011.

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Photo of Nick Herbert Nick Herbert The Minister for Policing and Criminal Justice, The Minister for Policing and Criminal Justice 5:00 pm, 12th September 2011

Hon. Members have spent their whole time trying either to stop the reform or to delay it, and now, when an introduction is delayed for a few months, they apparently do not want that, either.

The central point is that, in any case, the cost of elections is not going to come from police budgets. It is just nonsense to claim that the money for elections could instead be spent on police officers. That is a poor argument. It ill behoves an elected politician to complain about the cost of democracy. It was Labour that made the police more accountable to a new Mayor of London. The referendum itself cost £3 million to conduct, and the elections still cost £18 million every four years. Did Labour then say that this money could be better spent on police officers? No, of course not. If greater democratic accountability is a price worth paying in London for a quarter of all policing, why not in the rest of the country?