I wish that media commentators would stop asking people from Liverpool whether they would like to see the disbandment, renaming or rebadging of South Yorkshire Police.
Merseyside is well represented in Parliament by a handful of very vocal MPs who are capable of pushing David Cameron into making one of his knee-jerk reactions if they get this particular bit between their teeth.
Andy Burnham is already calling for a Hillsborough-type inquiry into the actions of South Yorkshire Police at Orgreave, when the policing of the Miners’ Strike was obviously organised by central government and not locally.
In 1989, two days after the Hillsborough Stadium tragedy, Sir Kenneth Oxford, the Chief Constable of Merseyside, and an unnamed senior officer briefed Mrs Thatcher’s government that ‘late- arriving, drunken fans had caused the disaster’. Their view had been skewed by the 39-death Heysel Stadium tragedy four years earlier, after which 14 Liverpool supporters were jailed for manslaughter.
The two men were obviously very misguided, but Sir Kenneth was not hounded out of office for this ill-judged slur. He retired as a matter of course later that year aged 65. If only David Crompton could have been so fortunate.
As a resident of South Yorkshire, I do not want the future for my police force to be determined by public opinion in another part of the country. I want it to be reformed locally, possibly by government-appointed commissioners.