Tuesday, 31 March 2015

High cost of policing

DEVON and Cornwall’s Police Commissioner Tony Hogg is tonight (Tuesday) visiting Honiton  – yet another “entering the Lion’s Den” experience, but one I would have thought to which  Mr Hogg is now accustomed.

Mr Hogg, a former Naval officer, seems a reasonable sort of bloke to me. He earns £85,000 a year – not an excessive amount in the public sector but far more than the average wage in this part of the world.

I think he comes over well on TV and he clearly believes in what he’s doing and his 
desire to maintain as many police officers on the streets of Devon and Cornwall  as possible.

He came in for quite a lot of stick recently when he announced moving his office to Middlemoor at cost of £500,000, saying that it made financial sense because it would save a similar amount over the next decade. Hmm. I wonder. 

The role of Police Commissioner is to give the public more say in policing and to make the fight against crime more accountable. I would bet that if you stopped 20 people in Honiton High Street and asked what the Police Commissioner did and whether they thought they had more say in policing, the response would be pretty negative. Ditto in the main streets of Sidmouth, Seaton and Axminster.

People want to see more police in their communities and Constabularies up and down the country are struggling to do this.

Mr Hogg is likely to face some tough questioning at tonight’s public meeting in Honiton. It was last November when he was strongly criticised – and forced to apologise – when the decision was taken to close the town’s police station enquiry desk without consulting with Honiton councillors.

I think it costs in the region of £290 million to run the Police and Crime Panel, of which £96 million comes from council tax. A lot of money  – but then it used to cost a lot of money running the old Police Authority.

I’m not sure Police Commissioners are here to stay and ultimately it will be down to which party – if any – comes out on top on May 7th.


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