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Privatising the Police

You may not have noticed but there were some elections last week. The Conservatives have brought in Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) to replace Police Authorities. PCCs are publicly elected to hold Chief Constables to account and the new PCCs were elected in 41 areas, 37 in England and 4 in Wales. No PCCs were elected in Scotland, Northern Ireland and London due to different governing procedures.
In an initiative supposedly brought in to increase local democracy, £100 million was spent yet the turnout was as low as 1 in 10 in some areas. At one polling station in Newport, Wales, there were no voters.
Why is this important for interpreting? Although the main aim of PCCs will be to reduce crime they will also be attempting to reduce ‘waste’, the catch-all Conservative term for spending. ‘Waste’ will inevitably include interpreting and translation. Any police force who has managed to escape the disastrous Ministry of Justice contract, a system that is more inefficient and wasteful than the previous, may not last much longer. Another criticism is that PCCs will politicise police forces. In Hertfordshire, Conservative candidate, David Lloyd won and was the only candidate to support outsourcing. The rest held a much more sensible view.
If Chief Constables were under extreme pressure before, that may have just got a whole lot worse. We may now see even more parts of police forces outsourced and auctioned off to the lowest bidder. David Cameron stated that the “turnout was always going to be low, when you’re electing a new post for the first time…” That is not a legitimate reason when in an election understood and supported by voters the turn out would have been higher. The media has called into question whether these posts are therefore even legitimate.
If you want to dispute the elections write to the party leaders online and write to your new PCC and explain why interpreting should not be outsourced causing a further privatisation of our police forces and putting users of interpreting services at risk.

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