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You, the people, can have a big say on the future of policing

By Lincolnshire Echo  |  Posted: October 11, 2012

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Policing by public consensus forms the basis of everything our boys and girls in blue set out to do.

Their ability to tackle crime and disorder has always rested upon public approval of their actions.

And as Sir Robert Peel, the father of modern policing, once famously said: "The police are the public and the public are the police."

He formed the Metropolitan Police Force for London in 1829 and by 1857, all cities in the UK had to set up their own forces.

Fast forward to 2012, and the latest police reform is the creation of Policing and Crime Commissioners in 41 police forces areas in England and Wales, including here in Lincolnshire.

In fact, is it said to be the biggest shake-up in policing for 50 years.

Quite rightly, taxpayers in Lincolnshire should have their say on how our streets are policed.

Which is why everyone should cast their vote in the commissioner election on November 15.

Whoever wins in Lincolnshire will be paid around £75,000 a year from the public purse.

They will be responsible for hiring and firing chief constables, deciding how the county should be policed and setting out budgets.

The Government's view is that they will serve to hold forces to account, rather than actually run them.

For all these reasons, we should all take an interest.

The Lincolnshire candidates will be speaking at a hustings event, organised by the Echo, at Lincoln Drill Hall on October 23.

They will be explaining what they will do for the people and why people should vote for them.

The Lincolnshire Echo strongly urges readers to discover more about what each candidate has to say before exercising their democratic right to vote.

Fears have already been expressed by rank and file officers nationally about interference from politicians, as some candidates are backed by political parties.

While it is felt successful candidates could lack a mandate if voter turnout is low – a figure of less than 15 per cent has been mooted.

Peel's fundamental policing principles are still relevant all these years later.

By getting involved in the police commissioner vote, you can help keep tradition alive.

It is everyone's police force. We all hold its future in our hands.

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