I was one of the tiny minority who voted in the Cheshire Police and Crime Commissioner elections. I genuinely believed it to be an opportunity to replace the old tired regime with a new policing philosophy more in touch with local residents and needs.
I thought we’d see some inspired thinking from new management untarnished by prior failure or shackled by outdated ideas. How wrong I was.
Of all those Commissioner Dwyer had to choose from, he selected as his deputy Margaret Ollerenshaw, who was chairman and member of the old Police Authority for a decade.
I’m sure Mrs Ollerenshaw is a very fine lady. She’s been a member of too many impressive boards to mention, picking up an MBE along the way.
She was also head of the Cheshire Police Authority during the yob culture Asbo period and the embarrassing 24-minute arrival time at the scene of an armed raid 300 yards from Macclesfield police station.
In short Mrs Ollerenshaw represents yesterday’s ideas, most of which did not work.
Name your local bobby? Go on – I dare you. How in God’s name can you have good local policing if no one knows if they even have a local bobby? When did you last see a policeman/woman on your street?
It’s these basic policing policies that need addressing. Mrs Ollerenshaw and her authority had more than a decade to deliver and their time is well and truly up.
We all know how resistant police organisations are to change but we need fresh, inspired thinking at the top.
We now have the same chief constable we had before the election, a retired assistant chief constable as Police Commissioner and a deputy who ran the old Cheshire Police Authority for a decade. It’s the old boys’ club all over again.
This was a great opportunity to bring the public on-side with some original ideas. (Having the local bobby introduce him/herself would have been a good start. Seeing him/her again within six months – a miracle.)
But all we got was the begging bowl as we did when they increased the police precept by 19 per cent.
Maybe Mrs Ollerenshaw will forgo the £22,500 she receives for her three-day week? That would be original.