COMMENT: Did we really want a police commissioner?

Cllr Alan Charles Police and Crime Commissioner for Derbyshire
Cllr Alan Charles Police and Crime Commissioner for Derbyshire

So, we’re starting life with the very first police commissioner for Derbyshire.

The question is, did we ever want one in the first place? The fact that so few of us could be bothered to get out and put our little cross beside the candidates’ names seems to suggest no.

Some have pointed out that sticking the election in the middle of cold, wet, miserable November was a recipe for disaster from the start; that few of us would venture from our cosy sofas for ANY election in the season of mists and overcoats.

But while the weather might certainly have put off some voters, I’m not sure that thousands more of us would have beaten a path to the polling station if the election was held in the glorious sunshine of a rare flaming June.

Not that I’m holding any of that against our new police czar personally.

It’s clear that Alan Charles won the vote fair and square and we wish him well in his new role.

The problem seems to be that most of the population have little knowledge or interest in what that role will actually entail.

Everyone’s eye has been caught by the healthy salary it attracts, but what will the commissioner DO?

The job title hasn’t helped - it conjures images of a top-hatted chap opening the doors for visitors to police HQ in Ripley - or of Mr Charles up on the roof, late at night, firing up the bat signal.

The fact is that nobody really asked us if we wanted a police commissioner in the first place and if they did, it seems most of us would have said no.

We know that crime and disorder is something our readers care about deeply - which makes the apathy around the election all the more surprising.

Maybe that’s just because the new position hasn’t been properly explained to us; maybe it will completely change our police service - or at least substantially improve it. We can only hope so.

We’ll let you know....