The current chairman of Kent Police Authority, Ann Barnes, has announced she is standing as a candidate at the forthcoming Police and Crime Commissioner election. In the run up to the legislation being passed creating the role of commissioners and abolishing police authorities she campaigned vigorously against the proposed changes and expressed her personal opinions on the taxpayer funded Kent Police Authority website.
I welcome the changes. The Independent members of KPA are selected by an arcane appointment system, are not democratically accountable and 'represent' no-one. What Barnes was complaining about was the substitution of selection by election.
Despite her opposition she is entering the hustings. The main thrust of her campaign is that political party candidates will be beholden to the whims of the political party they support. I doubt if elected mayors feel beholden to the national political party machines - Boris Johnson is certainly no poodle of the Conservative Party.
My local newspaper The Courier had this to say in an editorial:
Ann Barnes has warned the people of Kent they are in danger of 'sleepwalking' into a position whereby the police are run by a politician. We won't know until November whether the people agree with her concerns, but would appointing a politician be such a bad move? After all, any politico worth his salt would have vetoed the force's refusal to police road closures for public events.