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Councillor furious at plans to change police system

Wednesday, 12th January 2011.

Government plans to axe police authorities and replace them with a single elected police and crime commissioner have incensed a former Conservative Haverhill Town Councillor.

Cllr Margaret Marks, whose husband Tim is a member of Suffolk Police Authority and chairman of Haverhill Safer Neighbourhood Team, has written to town MP Matthew Hancock to protest, after hearing about the plans at a town council meeting last week.

Cllr Colin Spence, chairman of Suffolk Police Authority, and the county's chief constable Simon Ash attended the meeting to explain how the proposals would affect Suffolk.

The elections for commissioners in each constabulary, estimated to cost 50million, will take place in May 2012.

The commissioners will set budgets and priorities, although chief constables, whom they will appoint and hold to account, will still be responsible for delivering the police service.

In her letter to Mr Hancock, Cllr Marks envisages how the county could end up with 'one highly-paid idiot' in charge and the chief constable having to clear up the mess.

Cllr Marks, who was elected as a Conservative but has left the party and now sits as an independent, said she was 'speechless' when she heard about the proposals.

She writes: "What supreme arrogance! No public consultation but a blind determination to remove a cost-effective, largely elected authority and replace it with a single elected person who, whether competent or not will remain in an undoubtedly high-paid post for four years!

"All that is required is for some half-wit to put up a credible manifesto and we end up with one highly-paid idiot and the poor chief constable picking up the pieces of his disastrous decisions.

"How dare you waste public money in such a cavalier manner when you are cutting other essential services.

"I would like you to explain fully the rationale behind this idiotic proposal and I shall be delighted to share it with the good people of Haverhill and Suffolk."

She asks Mr Hancock to forward her letter on to David Cameron and assure him the proposals have met with local disapproval.

At last week's meeting, town clerk Gordon Mussett said although it was expected the political parties would put forward their candidates for the commissioner's job, it would be possible for virtually anyone to get elected, particularly if they ran an effective Facebook campaign.

Haverhill Online News

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Sudbury, EnglandPosted by gogmagog at 3:26PM on 17th January, 2011. (82.26.xxx.xxx)

The efficient option is to eliminate a committee and replace it with an elected commissioner of the police.

The police committees are largely a law unto themselves and work behind the scenes. An elected commissioner would be held to account for the actions of his police force. If the commissioner fails to do his job I can vote him out.

If Cllr Marks has a problem over the police all she needs do is stand for the position. Petty name calling wins no support from me.


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