Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Electing police managers could open the door to extremists - and increase hate crime

Labour proposals to directly elect members of Sussex Police Authority will divert cash from neighbourhood policing - and risk increasing racist and homophobic hate crime in the city.

As our economy worsens we need to focus more resources on neighbourhood policing.

Locally, burglary and car crime are both on the rise, as people increasingly struggle to make ends meet with poverty and unemployment levels getting worse everyday.

Of course we need communities to become more involved in decisions about policing - but the way to do that is to allow them to participate in spending decisions, not simply to introduce another tier of elections without even explaining if the cost will be met by taking police off our streets.

I am deeply concerned that direct elections to Sussex Police Authority will open the door to extremists and single-issue campaigners and drown out the voices of our city's distinct and vulnerable group's and communities.

Direct elections will inevitably mean different political parties back different candidates. You only need to look to the Metropolitan police to see the dangers of that kind of political sponsorship.

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