Get involved: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting OXFORD NEWS to 80360 or email us
COMMENT: Big shoes to fill
10:30am Wednesday 11th April 2012 in Editorial Comment
tHE creation of a Commissioner to oversee Thames Valley Police is uncharted territory that at this moment in time holds no guarantee of success.
From November, Thames Valley Police Authority and its 18 elected and independent representatives will be swept into oblivion and replaced by a single figure, on a pay packet of £85,000.
Like so many Government initiatives, the immediate mental image is an appealing one: get rid of the police authority talking shops and bring in a tough-talking, no-nonsense figure chewing out senior cops and standing up for the little people.
As of yesterday, no-one had thrown their hat into the ring to meet the brief of being strong-willed, holding an excellent knowledge of how a police force works, and someone who can resist being sucked into a cosy relationship that would sabotage the scrutiny and leadership the role demands.
The police authority system is not perfect. It did not publicly resist its communities from losing access to police stations, for instance, which you would have reasonably expected was one battle it should have fought.
But at least there are 18 representatives who, theoretically at least, are in touch with their communities from Slough to Milton Keynes to Oxford to Banbury who understand each area’s differing issues and demands.
Can a single Commissioner do this?