Those of us who are or have been self employed or have run their own businesses will generally follow Dicken`s Mr Micawber character when he said, "Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen pounds nineteen shillings and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery." And that is how it should be. Those who profit by careful management have to bear the costs of the other side of the coin. Current distaste for bankers who are merely employees is based on the reality that they were and arguably still are able to pocket the gains but are shielded from the losses. The public service and not small numbers in private industry are imbued with the spending of other peoples` money with little or no restraint……..until the c r a s h. Police and police authorities are not immune from this profligacy.
Police Authorities are required by law to produce a summary of local performance and some put it on their websites for free. Recently at least four such Authorities have been criticised for the amount they have spent on such legally required information; Kent, Greater Manchester Police, Cleveland and Humberside whilst Derbyshire has been commended for its restraint in such circumstances.
Relatives have shown me many copies of the regular newssheet produced by County Hall in London when Red Ken Livingstone was Mayor. Ostensibly an information sheet it was in reality a council tax funded propaganda newspaper for Livingston, his Labour Group and his politics. It was not corruption in the legal sense but public money was being used in a manner hardly envisaged by those at the top of the authorising bodies where such expenditure is sanctioned. Obviously there must be limits to the personal liabilities of paid officials of public bodies or the only beneficiaries would be the insurance companies and the supply of personnel would reduce considerably. Justices of the Peace in certain circumstances are personally financially liable in very rare circumstances. But surely the simplest way to control public spending is to impose some financial liability on those whose guardianship of public funds falls appallingly below a minimum required standard?