First day in committee leading on the Police and Justice Bill – or the ‘I’m Charles Clark – I’m in charge Bill’ as much of it takes powers away from local bodies and puts it straight in the Home Sec’s hands. The first part of the Bill is about the merging of two central functions agencies into one new one – the National Police Improvement Agency. We don’t have too much trouble with that – however the next section (Schedule 2) is a real humdinger.
The first part of this is where the Home Secretary takes powers to decide how many members there are, what qualifications or disqualifications they have, what work is done and who chairs and vice chairs local Police Authorities. Centralisation or what? And they have gotten rid of magistrate members. I suspect magistrates know too much and give the Home Sec too much trouble. Ms Blears, Minister for Police etc, swears blind that this is all for our own good – saying the Government has a responsibility to make sure that everything is done properly and if things go wrong to go straight in and sort it out – without the hassle of any democratic processes or checks and balances in the way.
In the evening I go to Haringey City Growth Business Awards. It is a really delightful evening. I have been sent my little bit of script, a bit of blurb, for presenting on of the award. So I go up – and after I have said ‘and the winner is’ as I open the envelope (I can’t help myself admitting that I’ve always wanted to do that bit!) – I read out that the winner is Tracey Proudlock of Proudlock Associates. Tracey is a fabulous local woman – in a wheelchair – who really gets on with it. I am really glad she won the category.