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An expensive position

You have reported that Angus MacPherson, the Wiltshire Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), has opened a public consultation as to whether people would be prepared to see a substantial increase in the precept in order to recruit more officers, including to fight against cyber crime. These are, of course, worthy aspirations.

However, the whole idea of PCCs is adding significantly to the costs of policing as well as adding an additional layer of bureaucracy and reducing democratic accountability. The PCC concept was introduced in 2011 by the Tory/Lib Dem coalition in imitation of the US system of elected police sheriffs. It is not held in high regard and attracts some of the lowest electoral participation rates. Prior to that, police accountability was through a committee of elected councillors. In Wiltshire, this would be the Wiltshire and Swindon Councils.

The Wiltshire PCC has an office of 16 people plus the PCC and his Deputy at a cost of in excess of £2 million in 2017/2018.

While undoubtedly some of the administrative and financial functions of the PCC were previously carried out within the police force itself and would still be required, the abolition of the PCC and its support office and its replacement by a committee drawn from our two councils (the old ‘Watch’ committee) would create savings that could be spent on officer recruitment and would restore democratic control.

Tony Mayer, Wheatlands, Haydon Wick, Swindon

More misinformation

My fellow correspondent John Stooke makes some very valid points in his letter regarding the current state of Brexit (SA 22 Jan).

However, I’m sure he will permit me to correct his incorrect assertion that I suggested the £110million bribe to JLR was made by the EU. I very specifically did not write that, what I actually wrote was ‘the EU promoted subsidy of £110 million offered by the host country’. Unlike the assistance given to Nissan, Toyota and Honda, the subsidy given to JLR was to ‘persuade’ them to close their UK operation and move it to another EU country. The EU would not allow the UK to bribe a company to move from Holland.

I appreciate that Tata Motors are only interested in the ‘bottom line’ and if they can make more money out of transferring their production to a low-wage country, while also picking up handsome inducements from the Government there, then they have no hesitation in doing so and little concern about the impact on their loyal workforce here.

I am sorry that John seeks to blame the closure of Philips, Glemsford operation on Brexit. A closer examination of the facts (as opposed to the headline) reveals that the chief executive of Philips UK and Ireland has advised the closure was part of a wider global strategy and would have been made “regardless of Brexit”.

It is this sort of misinformation which creates a sense of doom and gloom which Remainers have perpetuated to support their view that 17 million UK voters ‘got it wrong’. Whereas, the reality is that the big multi nationals are more than able to move to any location in the world which offers them a commercial advantage; and they will do at the drop of a hat with little, if any regard for the UK or its workforce.

Des Morgan, Caraway Drive, Swindon

Let business sort it out

Is the establishment going to keep Brexit going, until we grow weary and somehow keep us hanging on to the coat tail of the common market, irrespective of the vote we had two years ago?

It would seem to be all about big business and not about people.

So why not let big business sort out the business side? MPs haven’t got the skills to negotiate in that area

(failing that send in Dragons Den, they could do a better job than what we have there at the moment).

Roy Small, Haydon Wick, Swindon

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