In yesterday's Daily Post, North Wales Police Authority's vice chair, Douglas Wynne reappeared -- this time to tell us the 'interim' results of the survey. Yes, the 'interim' results of the survey we had one day to take part in. Anyway, here is the Daily Post headline:
And just incase you had still failed to get the impression that the survey results found against the idea of an elected Police Commissioner, the Daily Post even helpfully included a sub-headline:
The article itself then begins like this:
"OPPOSITION is growing to the idea of having an elected commissioner in charge of police in North Wales. The interim results of a survey show a majority of people are against the proposal which is part of a package of reforms being put forward by the Government"
It goes on to give the results of the survey:
"Of those who responded, 41% were opposed to a commissioner while less than 30% were in favour."
Happily, the NWPA have published (pdf) the full results of the survey on their website so I went to have a look. Here are the actual results to the crucial question, "Overall, are you in favour of a directly elected Police and Crime Commissioner?":
So, yes, just 29% of respondents declared themselves to be in 'favour' and 41% of respondents did indeed oppose the proposal. But hold on a moment: whats that big pink wedge in the top left? Oh, thats the percentage of respondents who said they were 'somewhat in favour' of an elected police commissioner... which by my reckoning means that actually 45% (29% + 16%) of respondents are either 'in favour' or 'somewhat in favour' of elected police commissioners. In other words, in direct contradiction to the spin put on the results by both NWPA Vice Chair Douglas Wynne and the apocalyptic Daily Post headlines, those favouring elected police chiefs outnumber those opposed by four percentage points.
So, what about that dire warning at the beginning of the Daily Post article which told us ominously that "OPPOSITION is growing to the idea of having an elected commissioner in charge of police in North Wales"? Just how many people from North Wales actually took part in the survey? According to the published results just 82 respondents were from North Wales... To call this shoddy reporting doesn't even begin to do it justice. Outright lies is a more apposite.
Elsewhere in the article, NWPA's Douglas Wynne goes on to say that in addition to the (fake) public opposition, "we are also worried we could end up with a police commissioner from an extremist party or single issue pressure group". Well, let me put his mind at rest -- below is the Druid voting intention poll aggregator for North Wales:
As you can see, "others" which includes UKIP, Greens, BNP, Communist, Socialist and Christian parties rarely polls above five per cent in North Wales -- within that, the BNP (because they are surely the 'extremists' Wynne is talking about), have never polled above two percent. The very idea that a representative of any of those parties would be elected as Police Commissioner in North Wales is pure fantasy. In fact, I would say it is a slur on North Wales residents to even raise this as a concern.
So, to conclude, the non-elected NWPA vice chair has basically (a) wilfully distorted and misrepresented the actual results of a survey which anyway had a minuscule number of respondents from North Wales; and (b) stated that he doesn't trust North Wales residents not to elect a BNP police commissioner. In so doing he has given me the clearest reason yet why the NWPA should be abolished and replaced by a directly elected Police Commissioner.
Incidentally, I note that the survey is now up and running again and I therefore urge you to take part and let the NWPA know what you really think. You can take the survey here.
The full 'interim' results are below:
Police Reform Consultation Report