In a letter to Communities Secretary Greg Clark I have challenged him to clarify two key questions:
1. Will the Government be wasting £1.25 or £2.5 million on a none job. These being the costs next year of the election which is the smaller figure if held on the same day as the local elections and the higher figure if held by itself as last time.
2. Will the election be for a none-existent job? If the Government approves a Manchester style package which is due to be submitted to them by Merseyside Leaders on 4th September then the position of Police Commissioner will disappear probably just 12 months later.
I also ask for clarification on the role of the policing of Halton if the deal goes ahead as Halton is policed by the Cheshire Police force.
I have warned Greg Clark, “I have no doubt at all that the people of the Liverpool City Region would prefer this money to be spent on policing not politicians and bureaucracy. I also know that they would be outraged at the spending of this amount of money for a one year post which can only be described as a total waste of money”.
The full text of my letter to Communities Secretary Greg Clark is appended below
Cllr Richard Kemp CBE,
16, Dovedale Road,
Liverpool L18 1DW
Rt Hon Greg Clark,
Secretary of State for DCLG
2, Marsham Street,
London SW1P 4DF
19th August 2015
Re: Police Commissioner Elections – Merseyside
I have been asked to contact you after a meeting last night when Liberal Democrats from across Merseyside met to consider whether or not we intended to fight this election next year. We have decided that we will fight but have two key questions to ask you:
1. Is it your intention to waste £1.25 million or £2.5 million on next year’s election? At the moment we do not know when the election will be held. If it is on the same day as the local elections they will cost the £1.25 million figure. If they are free standing as they were last time with no other elections they will cost £2.5 million. We say wasted because we firmly believe that this is a none-job with no public support. We saw this at the first elections and subsequent by-elections when turnout was derisory. The second question arises because not only do we and local people think it a none job it might soon become a none-existent job!
2. What thoughts have you given to the situation will arise if you agree a devolution package which the City Region leaders have agreed to submit on 4th September on the Manchester model. The Manchester model includes the removal of the position of Police Commissioner. We could then be spending a lot of money for a job that will disappear one year after the election.
I have no doubt at all that the people of the Liverpool City Region would prefer this money to be spent on policing not politicians and bureaucracy. I also know that they would be outraged at the spending of this amount of money for a one year post which can only be described as a total waste of money.
There is, of course a 3rd question for you to answer. In Greater Manchester the Combined Authority is coterminous with the Police Authority. In the Liverpool City Region it is not. Halton is policed by Cheshire. Will the City region remit for policing then not extend to Halton or will policing be reorganised to allow for the changed devolved circumstances?
This is not a mess of your making but it is nevertheless a mess.
We look forward to receiving your answers.
Cllr Richard Kemp CBE
Leader, Liverpool Liberal Democrats