This blog is mainly about the governance and future of policing and crime services. (Police & Crime Commissioners feature quite a lot.) But there are also posts about the wider justice system. And because I am town councillor and political activist, local & national issues are covered a little, as well.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Secret PCC: A LibDem MP considers applying for Direct Entry

I chortled and guffawed this morning when the Chief Constable arrived at my door with news of some early applications for the Direct Entry Superintendent scheme. I thought he was playing a practical joke on me. But it appears he has had some inquiries from a couple of LibDem MPs on our patch. However the timing seems to be out for them as the application process is beginning now. (Unless they want to resign...)

It seems they have to go through a self assessment process first. I struggle to see how they managed to rate themselves so highly... But I guess we can all delude ourselves. Anyway, strictly between you and me, dear secret diary, here is one covering letter that we received...
Dear Chief Constable
I writing to you in the hope that I might submit myself for direct entry into your noble profession as I reckon I will probably be out of job come next May. I have looked through the job description for being a police superintendent, and I believe I have all the qualities, and more, required.
The website says that "policing can be physically, mentally and emotionally demanding". I am resilient sort of chap and trust me, spending hours in House of Commons' bars after listening to opposition spokespeople drone on and on about how poor some people are, and still being able to select and enter the correct lobby takes some doing. Especially when what you are voting for is something at odds with what you really believe in. But that's coalition politics for you. I imagine that sort of saying one thing but doing another is a skill required of top cops?
Of course I do not have any criminal convictions. Being an MP, the expenses oversights I have made around property matters and other sundry bits and pieces do not add up to any criminality at all. I have been required to pay back a few thousand here and there, but no criminal charges were ever considered. And absolutely no speeding tickets, for me or my wife. Ever!
As a proud European Brit, no problems with eligibility there. I have no facial piercings and the only tattoo I have: I agree with Nick in Elvish is inked in well below the bikini line, as it were. I assume that should present no problems to my public image?
My financial position is really rather good (see expenses above) and I really want the job as a police superintendent to carry on working hard for local communities. The pecuniary reward (it is £62,000 a year isn't it?) is not my main motivation. Naturally as an MP I have become adept at deflecting attempts to bribe me into voting this way or that. I imagine these skills will continue to be of use as a senior police officer. I should declare, I suppose, that I do plan on continuing as a modestly paid non executive member of a couple of think tanks and security services contractors. But I will resign these of course, if that is deemed to be a conflict of interest.
I have never been a member of any extreme right wing organisations such as the BNP or Combat 18. But of course I have taken an active part in politics over the last 25 years. But I would be prepared to give all that up, it's only been something of a hobby most of the time anyway. And we LibDemmers are nothing if not flexible, what!
My eyesight and general physical condition is still that of a young & lithe labrador, despite the many lunches that we MPs are forced to consume.
With regards to second half of the self selection questionnaire, I passed with flying colours! I am motivated and committed: you have to be as backbench LibDem MP in a Tory led coalition. My leadership skills are eminently transferable: I have been organising door to door inquiries for years!
I have been an active cog in the wheel of the machine of the complexity that is the coalition government in delivering all that we set out to deliver: a bolder, braver and more affluent country, ready for the second half of the 21st century! Our track record speaks for itself.
The questionnaire asked do I "have the skills, abilities and experience to autonomously lead large departments?" Absolutely! And I can do so without splitting infinitives as well. Being an MP is about working autonomously and as part of team simultaneously. In the LibDems, we are both a party and not a party, a well oiled electoral machine and a bunch of (quite odd in some cases, but not mine) individual spirits.
I live and breathe creativity, innovation and learning. Being a LibDem means being an independent thinker, not tied to corporate or union masters/mistresses. My middle name is ambiguity and so I can easily make high pressure decisions under such conditions. I have lots of commercial ideas to bring to the police table, as it were. If we can sell of Royal Mail for a song, I am pretty darn sure we can sell off a few police stations (and uniforms that no longer fit the less fit).
"Do [I] have the self confidence and personal resilience to overcome any cultural and personal resistance to change?" What do you think? Voting for the NHS reforms, spare room subsidy and reductions in police budgets required bottomless amounts of personal resilience. And if ambiguity was not already my middle name, change would be! And I am used to working shifts/weekends/all hours.
I act with integrity at all times. (Even when I don't have to.) And I am very "comfortable setting high standards of behaviour and challenging the practices of others when these are not met?" Although doing that with coalition partners is sometimes a bit of a stretch. But we LibDems forgive them, for they know not what they do. Well... perhaps one or two of them do.
When you have watched our poll ratings over the last few years as much as I have, I can tell you that I am very used to dealing with distressing situations. I have had my agent crying on my shoulder, long standing members tearing up their membership cards in front of me, students showing me their bank statements. It has been tough and I have learnt to develop a very thick skin. You just have to. So I am well prepared for the odd road traffic collision or the violent death of a colleague at the hands of an offender released into the care of G4SerCapito probaton services. These are all things that I know I will be able to take in my stride, compassionately, sensitively and robustly.
And as for impartiality, but of course. That is the name of the game as a LibDem coalition member. If Labour win only enough seats at the next general election and need us to form a coalition with them: my party will be able to glide with impartial elan into a new government. If ambiguity and change were not already my middle names, then impartiality would be too.
I hope I have made my case for becoming one of your new fast stream direct entry recruits to the police service. I can't wait!
Sincerely yours etc...

Legal disclaimer: just in case you thought this series of secret PCC blogs is based upon a real person or persons: it isn't. It really isn't. Any similarity to a living PCC is entirely coincidental.


  1. I read the questionnaire and two points became apparent "Convictions for violence" (define violence) and the 3 years in UK residency. Abrogates ECHR surely?

    1. Short answer: I do not know. I guess 'violent crimes' would have a definition in law somewhere. Re the residency: it does say "This could mean candidates may need to have resided in the UK for a three year period prior to application." so they appear to be hedging their bets a little here. This is new territory for UK police services