“FIFTH vote of no confidence for police and crime commissioner”

“Councillors will be asked to vote on a fourth motion of no confidence in police and crime commissioner Alison Hernandez next week. The controversial politician has lost one council bid to unseat her, survived two others and narrowly avoided a fourth which was withdrawn ahead of a meeting.

None of the political resolutions have any teeth and Ms Hernandez has accused opponents of “naked politicking”.

Earlier moves have followed comments she made on a BBC radio phone-in about armed civilians and terrorists and claims that her plan to develop community policing was failing.

The latest attempt comes at Cornwall Council where Tim Dwelly, leader of the Labour group at County Hall, will table a motion an next week’s full council meeting.” …


“Now police chief Alison Hernandez faces a no confidence vote from her own former colleagues”

It seems only local Conservative politicians are prepared to keep her – what a surprise! In any other walk of life she would probably now be at the job centre. What a waste of our money.

“Police and crime commissioner Alison Hernandez faces another vote of no confidence this week – from her own former council colleagues. Ms Hernandez was a member of Torbay Council before she took on the job as Devon and Cornwall’s police chief.

Now her old council will be the latest to move for a vote of no confidence in her. The Conservative commissioner has already endured votes of no confidence from Plymouth City Council, which she lost, and another by the police scrutiny panel, which she won.

Devon County Council’s cabinet also backed the commissioner last month. Cornish councillors are also expected to have a similar discussion this month.

Now Liberal Democrat councillors in Torbay have her in their sights. They are angry at police cuts as well as Ms Hernandez’ comments on using armed volunteers in response to terrorist incidents and her attempts to appoint a deputy.

They have also not forgiven her for taking a ‘selfie’ with firefighters at the Exeter Royal Clarence Hotel fire.

A motion to the council meeting on Thursday, proposed by Nick Pentney and seconded by Cindy Stocks, is headed ‘Crisis in Frontline Policing in Torbay’ and reads: “Torbay Council is extremely alarmed that under the watch of Alison Hernandez, there has been a drastic reduction in the number of PCSOs, the eyes and ears of the force in Torbay. …”


Communications gaffe costs police equivalent of 7,800 jobs

“The £4 billion upgrade to emergency services communications is already years behind schedule, and there are growing concerns that critical elements of it cannot work.

Incredibly, the technology does not even exist to operate the new generation of radios in police helicopters, while hundreds of extra phone masts must be built before the network can be used in rural areas.

Police leaders fear these unresolved problems will push the start date for the Emergency Services Network (ESN) back again, leaving them with a huge bill for keeping the existing Airwave radio system switched on as they pay for the development of its replacement. …

… Earlier this year, the Home Office admitted the transition period would have to continue until September 2020, nine months after the expected ‘national shutdown date’ for Airwave.

But a key part of the Airwave infrastructure is due to stop working six months earlier in March 2020, in what MPs on the influential Public Accounts Committee described as a ‘potentially catastrophic blow to the ability of our emergency services to carry out their job and keep citizens safe’.

A restricted document written for the National Police Chiefs Council this summer claims it would cost ‘£403 million or 7,800 constables’ if forces had to pay for an extra year of running Airwave.

Last night, the national police lead for the project, Deputy Chief Constable Richard Morris, said: ‘The Government has a contingency plan in place and has extended all Airwave contracts to December 31, 2019.’

The Home Office said: ‘Emergency services will only transition when they are satisfied with the new network.’ “


“FIFTY police officers sent to a few dozen aging protesters”

”They drink tea, eat cake and from time to time burst into song.
The few dozen, predominantly retired, professionals at this very English protest hardly add up to a formidable force.

But on the fracking front line police are taking no chances.

At a time when forces up and down the country complain that they are struggling to cope because of budget cuts, North Yorkshire Police are facing accusations of mounting a ‘disproportionate’ and expensive show of strength.

Usually outnumbering – and certainly outmuscling – the grey-haired demonstrators, up to 50 police officers at a time are dealing with the protest.

The start of work to prepare for fracking at the Third Energy well at Kirby Misperton, near Pickering, has prompted the protests.

This week 12 people have been arrested, mainly for obstruction of the highway or a police officer.

Many of the protesters are pensioners who gather daily outside the site gates cum rain, cum shine to express their displeasure. They fear fracking – the controversial method of mining for gas and oil – poses a threat to this beautiful and unspoilt rural area. …

On Thursday around 30 were walking up the path to deal with protesters, although up to 50 are on site. Anyone who sits on the road to try to block the entrance gate risks being picked up by a uniformed officers and arrested. The trucks are escorted on to the site by two patrol cars and a police van packed with officers.

Sue Gough, 62, a retired teacher, said: ‘I have never protested before in my life. It is awful the way the policing has escalated. One of us was chased through Kirby Misperton by police and all he was doing was riding his bike.’
Jackie Brooks, 77, a great grandmother, was serving tea and cake from a stall beside the gates where protesters sang songs and strummed guitars. The former nurse said: ‘I don’t want this beautiful countryside poisoned by the chemicals they use.’

Another protester was Annabel Holt, 76, daughter of war hero Lieutenant Colonel Percy Legard, commander of the No 4 Commando strike force. ‘My father fought to save Britain from 1939 to 1945 and would have been against fracking,’ she said. ‘He fought for his country and I’m trying to do the same.’

Monica Gripaios, 66, claimed the force used by police has been ‘utterly disproportionate to the mood and actions of the peacefully assembled people’.

This week police have been dealing with between 30 and 60 protesters. Nine have been charged and a further two have accepted cautions. They include an 18-year-old woman, who has been charged with assaulting two officers.

Police insist they are acting responsibly. Superintendent Lindsey Robson said: ‘We have a duty to ensure people who want to assemble and protest do so safely, balanced against a duty to ensure that businesses can go about their lawful commercial activity.’

This week one of the country’s top officers warned that the police service is under unsustainable pressure due to the resources required to fight terrorism.

Sara Thornton, head of the National Police Chiefs’ Council, warned that officer numbers are at 1985 levels, crime is up 10 per cent on last year and police work has become ‘ever more complex’.

John Dewar, of Third Energy, said: ‘We look forward to running a safe and successful operation [at the site] that will be carried out with minimal impact on local residents and the environment.’

… When a lorry arrives, about every half hour at peak times, police advance up the remote country lane towards the protesters and force them on to the verge.”


Why are only police and prison officers getting a pay rise?

A Guardian letters correspondent has a theory:

The decision to release the pay cap only for police and prison officers will inevitably attract strong criticism from nurses and others, but it makes sense. Most Tory MPs probably have private healthcare, but they might well need the services of the police to intervene between them and the electorate during the conference season and beyond. Tory peers should also support the decision; Lords Archer, Hanningfield and Taylor of Warwick [Tory peers who have spent time in prison] could tell them how helpful prison officers can be at difficult times.

Geoff Booth

Knebworth, Hertfordshire”

When is a question not a question? When you ask it of Theresa May!

Ian Blackford, the SNP Westminster Leader, said it all when he quipped: “I was under the impression that this was questions to the PM.”

At PMQs this week, Theresa May failed to answer almost every question that was put to her, which leaves one wondering why this theatrical spectacle is still continued.

Asked about the worry felt by the constituents of Oxford West and Abingdon about leaving the single market and how this would affect the local economy, Theresa May decided to accuse MP Layla Moran of providing misinformation to her constituents about Brexit. May claimed that the Tories are seeking a deal that “gives us access to the single market” – not something that has been announced as part of the Government’s confusing position on Brexit, but presumably that doesn’t matter.

When quizzed on the damning UN report detailing that the UK actively discriminates against disabled people through cuts, Theresa May claimed that “those who are most in need” are receiving help, and that the support they are providing has “actually increased”. Must all be in the UN’s imagination, then – not to mention the imaginations of disability charities, my esteemed colleague James Moore, and those processing Freedom of Information requests. The fact that the DWP was told to “discriminate” against claimants with mental health conditions is obviously part of May’s utopian plan to help out those in need.

On the next question, Theresa May refused to accept that a 1 per cent pay increase for police officers and prison officers, with 2.9 per cent inflation, was in fact a real terms pay cut. She went on to say that, actually, police officers had actually enjoyed a 32 per cent increase over the past seven years.

I’m sure it will come as a shock to many police officers on the beat that they’ve “never had it better”, particularly considering over 20,000 of their jobs have been slashed (as well as there being 7,000 fewer prison officers). She then failed to guarantee that there would be no further police and prison officer cuts. Transparency really isn’t one of May’s fortes.

Corbyn continued by asking what has happened to the average person’s bank account over the past seven years, which, to her due, she did answer. May detailed that the average person is £1,000 better off due to tax allowances. I’m sure many people will be sitting at home wondering if their extra grand has gotten lost in the post.

Getting a proper answer or some form of acknowledgement that there may be an issue for even one single person in the country during a period of protracted austerity and a skydiving pound has become a rarity for Theresa May. She seems to be under the impression that she is not accountable to the people in this country, and that she can continue to hide what the Government is doing behind rhetoric while the public sit at home and nod.

Criticism is justified on both sides of the benches when it comes to the lack of discussion on Brexit. One wonders if they think by not talking about it, we will forget that it’s happening. With talks being stalled for an extra week and two major votes through Parliament this week, you would think it would be worth mentioning.

Alas, only Layla Moran got a brief word in edgeways on the subject.

During the general election, it was widely publicised that Theresa May rarely engaged with a member of the public who wasn’t a paid-up member of the Conservatives – you’d think that perhaps, after all of that criticism, she’d have changed her tune. This is how Corbyn swiped many of her votes, after all. But it appears that the Prime Minister has simply retreated further into her shell, with her fingers firmly wedged in her ears.

If Theresa May does remain in her position until 2022, then we have an awful lot of answer-free PMQs to sit through until the next general election.”


It didn’t take long for the police union to call her a liar!


You wait for one “no confidence vote” and two come along …


Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Commissioner Alison Hernandez is facing a third vote of no confidence.

The vote, at Devon County Council’s Cabinet meeting, follows comments she made on a BBC radio phone-in about armed civilians and terrorists.

The Conservative commissioner has survived the two previous confidence votes by Plymouth City Council and a police scrutiny panel.

Ms Hernandez has described the new motion is “naked politicking


Tonight: Paul Diviani, EDDC (see post below)

Truly, there is something seriously wrong in our local Tory party, where the gene pool seems to have become exhausted!

And isn’t “naked politicking” what she did to get the job!