PCC Meeting, 29th Nov
Last night the Police and Crime Commissioner, Jason Ablewhite, held a public meeting in the Town Council chambers to float the idea of a new Police Station for Wisbech.
A fair few people turned up including Councillors, members of the public, and a trio of Labour Party Activists.
From the very outset it was clear that the Labour Party ladies were intent on derailing the meeting. Almost as soon as the PCC began to speak they began tutting, talking over him and shouting things out.
Once the PCC had stated the plans, the public were invited to ask questions. There were lots of questions, but over and over again the Labour trio attempted to dominate the meeting. Talking over anybody who was speaking. Shouting over Mr Ablewhite’s answers. Being really very rude.
The members of the public who were not Labour activists soon tired of this and several times the meeting deteriorated into people asking them to pipe down and them arguing with pretty much everybody in the room.
They did themselves no favours. They kept insisting things they clearly wanted to believe, but which had been directly contradicted by both the PCC and the Police Superintendent who had spoken. They argued about the location of the public meeting (in the Town Council Chambers, where public meetings are held all the time.) They tried to claim that the meeting was called under false pretences. It wasn’t. It was called to discuss the moving of the Police Station from the old tumbledown poor building where it currently squats, to a new purpose-built modern building next to the Fire Station. The plans were right there to look at.
They tried to make a big deal about the Ambulance, Fire and Police being stationed next to one another in a new “Blue Light Hub”, even though all three services think this is a really positive idea and support it. Even though is was very clear that the services themselves remain Independent and that the close locality is a far better way for them to work collectively (as they often had to do.)
The Police and Crime Commissioner explained that all the money saved by having a state-of-the-art Police Station working closely with emergency partners on a central site would go straight back into front line Police and would increase the numbers of Police serving our community. He explained the ideas very clearly and as far as I could tell had the support of everybody in the room, with the sole exception of the trio of Socialists.
Even at the end of the meeting the Labour group continued trying to argue with everybody. One member of the public got so angry with them and their manner that she shouted some fairly harsh words. I’m honestly not sure what they wanted to achieve. It seemed they turned up to the meeting with a fixed opinion – when the information didn’t match what they expected to hear, they decided to just proceed as though it had. They seemed to only want to agitate and derail the meeting. If it was a political stunt, then I would say it failed dismally. To everybody who was there they just looked and sounded outlandish, which was set off with a deft flourish when one of the ladies insisted on calling other people “comrade” (which was not broadly welcomed by other members of the public.)
Anyway, colourful local political groups aside – the information given sounded like very good news indeed. All the Emergency Services are working together to deliver a newer, better and most importantly better-staffed service for our Town. It sounded like win-win to me.