But the Tories will face a lot of this kind of criticism as the police, a totally unreformed public service, close ranks against the idea. There will be suggestions that elected police commissioners will lead to political opponents being arrested and a whole bunch of other scare stories. The police will probably garner significant establishment support for their position, as soggy commentators fret that letting people decide on police priorities is dangerously populist.
It is crucial that the Tories do not back down under this pressure. Locally elected police commissioners would be transformative, they would ensure that the police concentrate on the crimes that most effect peoples’ quality of life. The current top down, target-ridden culture would be replaced by accountability to the public.
If the Tories aren’t prepared to face down a man like Hugh Orde, someone who proves the need for a reverse march through the institutions, then they won’t be much of a government.