Tuesday, 13 October 2009

The Communist Copwatcher from Kemp Town speaks...

It seems the Tories on Brighton and Hove City Council are a little more riled than I thought by the fact that I - and none of their number - have been appointed to represent the council on Sussex Police Authority.

At least week's council meeting, the Tories' Deputy Leader (and regular reader of this 'blog, I'm told) Ayas Fallon-Khan (pictured) asked me how I can justify being on the police watchdog.

I answered, honestly, that I am there because of the rules of democracy: basically because enough people voted Green in our last local election to warrant one Green Party member of the authority. When the nine councillor places were being divvied up between East and West Sussex Counties and the City Council, we argued that Brighton and Hove should have two reps rather than one - both to give the Tory administration a voice in the way policing is delivered and in recognition of the fact that policing Brighton and Hove is a bigger job than keeping much of rural Sussex safe.

But the argument didn't prevail, thanks to the opposition of a majority of East and West Sussex councillors - and the Brighton Tories were left out of the picture.

But Cllr Fallon-Khan, driven presumably by the Tories' historical distaste for democracy when they lose anything, responded to my explanation by calling me a 'Communist Cop-watcher from Kemp Town'. Today's Argus carries the whole saga in full.

I should be flattered really: I'm not a communist, but I am a cop-watcher, and I am from Kemp Town. Perhaps I should wear the badge with pride?

Meanwhile I'll press on with the job in hand: supporting better neighbourhood policing (my votes have helped deliver 27 new PCSOs and a new police station for Brighton since I took up post), making sure standards in police custody are high, and all detained persons are treated with respect, supporting better services for victims of crime, calling for more restorative justice, saving money by improving Sussex Police's environmental performance, to name a few.

As one commentator on The Argus story tells Cllr Fallon-Khan:

So stop moaning and just get on with your job please. I'm paying my council tax for results, not snidey remarks about someone who's doing theirs.

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