As you will know, from time to time I query the objectivity and quality of news reporting particularly from the BBC in the south east, on some occasions I also question the direction and conduct of our Police, well the two subjects were combined, in a single news report last week.
Tuesday (7th) BBC South East Today had a story concerning retired Col. Tim Collins, who is to stand as a candidate for the new role of elected police commissioner in Kent, with the backing of the Tory establishment, now clearly Col.Tim Collins is a serious candidate, who not surprisingly having retired from military service a hero, might perhaps just be the man to take on the role.
However for me a couple of issues not really connected with Tim Collins, arise from this report and the quandry for me, is about fairness and balance, just to remind you of some of the detail, as I recall, if I've got this right Col. Tim Collins is of the view that he could perform the duties of Police Commissioner, part time stating "It would be a part-time role for me. I don't see there's full time work in it." apparently also making light of the responsibilities of this post suggesting "What we need is someone who can listen to the public" (as I understand the role is also about decisions making, budget, setting the agenda and appointing the chief constable, not as simple as it Tim Collins would have it)
No surprise Kent Police Federation described the idea, as " nonsence", myself I'd use stronger language, but that is not what bothers me, having done my own research, to me this report lacked both balance and background, firstly my worry is of a bias, Tim Collins has as a result, of what seems to me, a flippant attitude to policing in Kent, and for all we know Kent conservatives may have massaged up a story, in which Ian Pointon chairman of Kent Police Federation has responded with a pertinent comment but all this resulted in Tim Collins, getting prominent prime time, publicity resulting in name recognition, now just briefly mentioning the background, as I understand talking to those, who know these things, the nitty gritty of the election has yet to be finalised, such things as nominations for candidates, perhaps a deposit such as in elections for MP's etc, so we don't know who else will be standing.
To summarise, I think this news story, could be seen, as an early but important bit of publicity for the the conservative candidate, in the election for Kent Police Commissioner, and of course its worth pointing out Dover council who are organising or administering the elections are not expecting the details of the electoral process until sometime in the spring.
I feel that the BBC should take greater care in its news reporting. The BBC speak of "opposing voices" in reports to achieve political balance, a somewhat banal phrase, I guess from the BBC wallah I spoke to, that role was taken by the chairman of Kent Police Federation, but I cannot help feel that a potential rival for the post, should have been used to prevent suggestions, such as mine that this report, favoured the proposed conservative candidate.
Maybe should I announce my candidacy for the role, BBC South East, will send one of it's journos out to report on a candidate who believes that whoever is elected as Police Commissioner for Kent takes a more serious attitude toward the role.