Do you want the police to be like us, or only for the rich?
The Government are doing something very silly that’s going to make our community harder to police. It's something I feel so strongly about I've raised it in Parliament, during Prime Minister’s Questions, and I want you to help me by signing a petition.
It’s really easy to do – I’ll show you how in a moment. But first, let me tell you what’s the problem.
Did you know that the Government is putting a tax of around £1,000 on anyone who wants to be a police officer?
That’s right, as if the cost of living wasn’t bad enough already they’re bringing in a new Bobby Tax.
From now on, anyone who wants to apply to become a police officer can forget it, unless they can cough up a grand to go on a new course they’ve invented called the Certificate in Knowledge of Policing.
Without paying the money, you won’t even be allowed to apply for the force, let alone have an interview or get the job.
Why are they doing this?
It’s almost like going back to the days when the Army sold a ‘commission’ – which meant their best jobs went to dodgy rich folk, like Flashman.
The Army stopped all that back in 1871, when they realised it was better to give the job to people based on merit rather than on how rich or posh they are.
So why are the Government introducing the Bobby Tax for the police in 2014?
Why should our best, most talented youngsters have to fork out £1,000 for the privilege of joining the police?
It doesn’t make any sense. Most of the young people from Mitcham and Morden won’t be able to afford that – so we’ll end up with police officers from wealthy backgrounds, who don’t know the first thing about what it’s like to live in a community like ours.
Let’s be truthful. The police have a tough job.
Everyone agrees we need to have a police force that is more like the community it polices. We need more people from tough backgrounds, more people from ethnic minorities. In short, we need more people from places like Mitcham and Morden.
But that’s not going to happen now, is it? A thousand pounds is too much for people from round here to afford.
So I’m asking you to sign a petition. Let’s get the message through to David Cameron – who has often been compared to Flashman – that it’s a really bad idea to charge a commission for the police.
If you click here
it will take you through to the official e-petition page for the Government. Just fill in your details and press send - then let me know you agree by filling in your details below.
And why not tweet a link to it so your friends can find out more too. Use the hashtag #bobbytax – and you can follow me @siobhainmp.
I don’t want us to go back to the 1800s.
Together let’s try to stop this silly tax on policing.
The number of police in Merton has fallen by nearly a fifth since 2010. We’ve got to make sure that those who do get employed are like us, and that the police don’t become the preserve of the rich.
I gather the House of Commons' Home Affairs Select Committee, which is Chaired by Keith Vaz MP, is to look into the Bobby Tax and Certificate in Knowledge of Policing as part of an inquiry into the College of Policing. I hope more details will come out soon.