The excellent Dan Hannan MEP raises the issue of BBC bias in the issue of directly elected police chiefs on his Telegraph blog today:
There was a snotty, sneering, superior piece about elected sheriffs on Radio 4’s PM programme this evening. Inevitably, it included an interview with Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona. Sheriff Joe admires the Republicans, thinks there is too much illegal immigration, is beastly to scoundrels and enjoys vast support. This, in Beebworld, makes him a one-man argument against democratic policing. Indeed, until now, BBC audiences might have been forgiven for believing that Mr Arpaio was the only sheriff in the United States.
Today’s feature branched out very slightly, and interviewed one other sheriff candidate, a chap from rural Alabama who seemed to have been chosen because a) his accent would make British listeners think of Mississippi Burning and b) his name was Jimmy Ray Swindle.
You get the idea. Allow people to choose who directs their local police force and you are likely to get racists, half-wits or crooks – often with hilarious redneck names. Just in case we missed the message, the correspondent spelt it out with his closing words: “While popular elections may increase direct accountability, it [sic] doesn’t necessarily lead to better policing”.
The tone of the BBC article and their hostility to elected police chiefs is understandable. The BBC and ACPO will defend each other because circling the wagons is the only way to prevent accountability being forced on them.