The Rotherham Politics Transparency Challenge.

Campaign funding became a major issue in the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner election, due to take place on November 15th.

In response to this, we issued the Rotherham Politics Transparency Challenge. We asked candidates to reveal the sources of their campaign funding, the amounts and give us a rough idea of how it is being spent. Additionally we asked if there was anything in the candidates past that might prove embarrassing once known.

So far Nigel Bonson, David Allen and Jonathan Arnott have risen to our simple challenge about transparency.

Sadly we can report to readers, Shaun Wright for Labour and Robert Teal for the LibDems, have failed so far to rise to this simple request.

Nigel Bonson – My promise to the people of South Yorkshire

My promise to the people of South Yorkshire.

If elected all candidates will have to sign an oath of impartiality.
In the absence of that, currently, we can only take their word for it.
I will go further than this “wait and see” promise.

“I, Nigel Bonson, of Sheffield, South Yorkshire,  sincerely promise that I will act at all times with integrity and impartiality. I will act and take decisions, free of the influence or interference of Government, any political party, the trade unions or any specific individual or body.”

I am able to do this. I am not the puppet of large donors. I have maintained my integrity and impartiality whilst working within the police and the wider criminal justice system for the last 38 years and that will not change.

Here is the official oath from the Home Office website and I adhere to that too…

Police and crime commissioner oath

“I, Nigel Bonson of South Yorkshire do solemnly and sincerely promise that I will serve all the people of South Yorkshire Force Area in the office of police and crime commissioner without fear or favour.

I will act with integrity and diligence in my role and, to the best of my ability, will execute the duties of my office to ensure that the police are able to cut crime and protect the public.

I will give a voice to the public, especially victims of crime and work with other services to ensure the safety of the community and effective criminal justice.

I will take all steps within my power to ensure transparency of my decisions, so that I may be properly held to account by the public.

I will not seek to influence or prevent any lawful and reasonable investigation or arrest, nor encourage any police action save that which is lawful and justified within the bounds of this office.”

Nigel Bonson.

Shaun Wright – Election Statement – Short on detail? Long on impossible promises!

Shaun Wright Photo

Shaun Wright

Election statement:

Aged forty four and married with two sons, Shaun has lived and worked in South Yorkshire his whole life.

He has experience across the public, private and voluntary sector; having served as a magistrate, Vice Chairman of South Yorkshire Police Authority, councillor, local Mayor, business owner and as a trustee on a number of charities including: the Coalfields Regeneration Trust & Groundwork Trust.

This unique blend of experience and dedicated service to local communities – together with his commitment to work in partnership with all agencies to cut crime – makes him well placed to serve us in the role of Police & Crime Commissioner.

He pledges to:

  • Always listen and be on your side; championing the decent, law abiding majority and providing a better deal for victims of crime.
  • Stand up for our communities against the Coalition Governments’ cuts to policing and the loss of over one thousand South Yorkshire Police jobs; as well as protect policing from privatisation.
  • Always protect the most vulnerable first; working to reduce the most serious offences and the despair which crime creates; especially for the elderly, women and children.
  • Protect front line neighbourhood policing teams; ensuring officers are visible and responsive to local needs.
  • Back a strong and swift response to antisocial behaviour; helping victims and dealing with issues quickly.
  • Work in partnership to tackle re-offending by supporting more prevention, rehabilitation and restorative programmes.
  • Deliver efficient and effective services and introduce a ‘Local Policing Pledge’ because South Yorkshire people have a right to know what policing services they can expect.
  • Protect the police from political interference by respecting the operational independence of the Chief Constable.

Prepared by Liz Donaghy Agent to Shaun Wright C/O Trades and Labour Club, Talbot St. Sheffield S2  2TG

Promises! Promises! Promises!

This statement from Nigel Bonson on the impossible to keep promises, being made by other candidates:

“I would urge voters to be cautious when considering the many promises being made by candidates who do not understand policing. Let me give you some examples:

Robert Teal now says he wants to increase ‘bobbies on the beat’ to 90% of the police staff rather than the current target of 70%. Putting to one side the fact that this may be crossing the boundary into the Chief Constable’s operational control; what he does NOT say is where he proposes to make cuts in order to achieve this. At a time when some forces are increasing resources to deal with child grooming, for instance, it would appear that Mr Teal intends to significantly reduce specialist departments.

Shaun Wright says he would ensure all complainants of anti-social behaviour get a response within twenty four hours. What’s the point of visiting someone at 4pm who has phoned to report an isolated incident of drunken behaviour outside their house at 2am? What a total waste of an officer’s valuable time. Likewise, it would be pointless people phoning the police about a burglary the day after bonfire night or Halloween – hard-pressed officers will all be spending the day meeting Mr Wright’s meaningless and rigid target!

Jonathan Arnott says he’ll have police stations open 24 hours a day. Well, as a resident I can assure voters that I would not wish to see valuable police or civilian staff sitting in an empty police station at four in the morning. If I need the police at that time I want them to come to me.

Another concern is this. Whose ideas are these? Have candidates already fully consulted or are they, even now, before having been elected, pursuing their own ill-thought-through whims? Of course it could just be shallow and meaningless rhetoric to win votes.

When you hear any of these promises, I would ask that you please just carefully think about them.

Policing is a serious and complex business. You are appointing someone who will affect lives.

I am standing as your PCC because I want to play my role in making South Yorkshire safer. I have an abundance of knowledge and experience of what works and can therefore, with credibility, pursue the type of policing the public wants. I will not be entering any competition of attractive (and potentially dangerous) ideas.”

Nigel Bonson

Nigel Bonson website

PCC Hustings- Questions being stage managed?

Dear Rotherham Politics readers,

I have just been given this outrageous, but hardly surprising, piece of news from “my inside correspondent” that South Yorkshire Police & Crime Commissioner candidates have tried to introduce the following two questions into the debate to be held at New York Stadium on 8 November.

1. The Hillsborough Enquiry.

2. The Rotherham Child Sexual Exploitation scandal.

And heyho, twang my bra-strap, guess what a surprise … they’ve been told “NO”. So we look like having another contrived and stage-managed event of a beauty contest.

This of course may not be in the least little bit disappointing to our Rovrum Laybah candidate, Shaun Da Sheep. Remember, he was RMBC Cabinet Member for Childrens’ & Young Peoples’ Services, and came in way over C&YPS budget during his stewardship by some millions of pounds.

All this begs the questions –

a – just what have they got to hide

b – just who are they intent on protecting

c – and more importantly and worryingly why?

This may yet develop into something at least as large as another high-profile sexual exploitation scandal that is growing just like Topsy.

Yours in abject disappointment,

Get your (free) ticket here.

Don Buxton gets a prompt response – isn’t technology wonderful – two?

Dear “Hill, Emma”

Honestly, no apologies are necessary. I really do appreciate your efforts on my behalf.

I only wish that many other RMBC colleagues could emulate and aspire to the same high professional standards as displayed by yourself, i.e. promptness, professionalism, helpfulness, and courtesy.

Yours Sincerely,
Donald H. Buxton

— On Thu, 11/10/12, Hill, Emma <> wrote:
From: Hill, Emma <>
To: Don Buxton
Cc: “ChiefExecutive” <>
Date: Thursday, 11 October, 2012, 14:36

Dear Mr Buxton

I apologie for the oversight and I confirm that I will make enquiries with colleagues in Democratic Services relating to the availability of declarations of interest for panel members. I will get back to you as soon as possible.

In response to your query about the Council’s website being updated with the information I supplied including names and respective authorities of panel members.  I did actually find this on the Council’s website.  I searched in the google box for Police and Crime and selected the link ‘South Yorkshire Police and Crime Panel’.

Yours sincerely
Emma Hill

Service Improvement Officer
Commissioning, Policy and Performance
Resources Directorate
Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council

Don Buxton gets a prompt response – isn’t technology wonderful?

Dear “Hill, Emma”

Thank you for your prompt and courteous response which partially answers the questions I raised.

However am still unable to find the declarations of interest for all the panel members, despite your RMBC weblink alluding to the fact that they can be obtained from there –

Perhaps you could arrange to supply me with these?

Also will the above RMBC weblink be updated to include the detailed information you supplied re: names and authorities of the respective members?

Yours Sincerely,
Donald H. Buxton

— On Thu, 11/10/12, Hill, Emma <> wrote:
From: Hill, Emma <>
To: Don Buxton
Cc: “ChiefExecutive” <>
Date: Thursday, 11 October, 2012, 9:33

Dear Mr Buxton

I refer to your recent email addressed to the Chief Executive relating to the above.

I attach for your information and reference a link to the Council’s website page which identifies all the members of the panel and their respective South Yorkshire Authorities which they represent.

I hope that this satisfactorily answers the issues which you raise.

Should you require anything further please let me know.

Yours sincerely
Emma Hill
Service Improvement Officer
Performance and Quality Team

Information yes, but far from complete – Don Buxton enquires further.