On Saturday the 10th of November 2012 I spotted a tweet from Timothy Barnes of Stevenage saying he would be outside Cambridge’s Guildhall with the Tory Police and Crime Commissioner Candidate for Cambridge, Graham Bright. Later Graham Bright’s twitter account emitted a message saying “Pop along if you want to have a chat”; I saw this when it was retweeted by the Tory Agent for Cambridge, Tim Haire (Who tweets as Radegund), and decided to go down.
One thing I really wanted to find out from Mr Bright is if local police priorities for the areas of Cambridge would still be set by our local councillors if he becomes commissioner. Local democratic priority setting, and the holding of the police to account against the priorities set, is something I greatly value. I have regularly used the opportunity to question our local police, and to lobby councillors setting the priorities. When the priority setting process has come under threat in the past I have used the public speaking slot at a council meeting to seek to maintain local democratic influence and oversight.
At the last West/Central Area Committee in Cambridge, held on the first of November 2012 I asked if councillors knew any of the commissioner candidates’ policies on retaining police priority setting at the meetings. The councillors did not appear to know. I suggested councillors invite the commissioner to their next meeting (he will be elected by then) so they can find out if they will still be able to set their police priorities in the future. The committee agreed with my suggestion and resolved to invite the commissioner to their next meeting. I plan to suggest to all Cambridge’s area committees that they issue similar invitations.
When I tried to put my question to Mr Bright he was evasive and not keen to answer; I persevered and eventually got a response – that he won’t reveal his policy on this key matter unless and until he is elected. I suggested to Mr Bright that it would be a good idea to reveal his policies now so that people can decide if to vote for him or not based on them; however he didn’t appear to agree with me.
Locally set police priorities are very important to many in Cambridge; they allow a local focus on things like cycle theft, road safety and enforcement of 20 mph and other speed limits in response to residents’ views as expressed via their councillors.
- Cambridgeshire Police and Crime Commissioner – Local Democratic Priority Setting and Accountability – My October 2012 Article
- Graham Bright – My September 2012 Article
- Another video from our encounter on the Market Square.