Police chief too busy to answer questions for himself

Police chief too busy to answer questions for himself

Police chief too busy to answer questions for himself

First published in News Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Reporter

It is perhaps understandable why Hertfordshire’s police commissioner, who once relished in the extra press coverage his new job brought, has become more media shy of late.

David Lloyd’s first year in office was hardly a tour de force PR-wise. First his deputy resigned in the wake of a self-inflicted controversy touched off by her tweeting a picture of Hitler.

Then, while cutting officer jobs in the force, Mr Lloyd expanded the deputy role to a full time £50,000-a-year position and dropped his mate from the same village into the non-job.

Next came the revelation about how much hospitality Mr Lloyd was enjoying while in office, including hobnobbing with England manager Roy Hodgson at Vicarage Road. This annus horribilis climaxed when he was questioned on BBC2’s Newsnight over perks and "cronyism" in its review of the first year of police commissioners.

Following such a torrid start to his tenure, Mr Lloyd has become more cautious about his public perception. The fact he advertised for a new chief spin doctor on a handsome salary of up to £75,000-a-year, indicates the acute urgency felt at the commissioner’s office about the need to improve his image.

Yet in recent months, Mr Lloyd has retreated behind a phalanx of publicly-funded PRs. Now he prefers to communicate to the public via staid press releases or set-piece speeches, such as his forthcoming address at the University of Hertfordshire.

A noticeable change in this new timid approach is this paper can no longer contact Mr Lloyd directly about police issues in the county. When we call we get the answerphone and invariably one of his press officers then gets in contact with us to find out what the query is. Then a bland statement is sent over. Previously Mr Lloyd had been happy to talk about issues over the phone and even answer the odd question.

When we queried why David was unable to speak for himself his well-remunerated understrapper replied that the constabulary comms team was now "handling" his press enquiries. When I pressed the matter further I was told he’s very busy these days, he has a lot of meetings apparently. So it has been decided it is best if all queries were dealt with by his spin doctors.

However, the insidious aspect of this new strategy is the police commissioner is now dodging attempts to question him directly over sweeping changes he is making to the county’s force.
This is not a unique tactic being deployed by the police commissioner. Politicians often want to send over statements, particularly on difficult issues.

Usually so they can choreograph an anodyne response with their advisors. The result is inevitably vapid tripe, usually scripted by someone other than the politician who is making the actual decisions.

Mr Lloyd’s reluctance to answer calls from this paper did prompt me to head up to his editors’ meeting earlier this month, where Mr Lloyd does discuss issues with representatives from local papers.

Here I did have an opportunity for a brief exchange with him. But this was curtailed when one of this press team felt things were getting off topic.

Pretty much every other senior politician in Hertfordshire is willing to speak directly with reporters about ongoing issues. Questioning politicians directly is an integral part of any healthy democratic system. Without those exchanges people who make crucial decisions are insulated from any dissenting views.

And the most concerning aspect for voters in Hertfordshire is the county’s highest paid politician now seems unable to answer questions for himself.

Comments (10)

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4:22pm Fri 23 May 14

WanderingDynamo says...

Well said, a great piece.
Well said, a great piece. WanderingDynamo
  • Score: 19

7:00pm Fri 23 May 14

croxley46 says...

Well done, Mike.
It just goes to show what a useless, unco-operative and unhelpful person he is, in a "job" which shouldn't really exist, either for him or his equally over-paid cronies.
Well done, Mike. It just goes to show what a useless, unco-operative and unhelpful person he is, in a "job" which shouldn't really exist, either for him or his equally over-paid cronies. croxley46
  • Score: 16

8:06pm Fri 23 May 14

Nascot says...

WanderingDynamo wrote:
Well said, a great piece.
Absolutely agree. Superb piece of journalism to expose this man for the charlatan he is and the sham job he holds. The lack of popular support in his election is totally vindicated.
[quote][p][bold]WanderingDynamo[/bold] wrote: Well said, a great piece.[/p][/quote]Absolutely agree. Superb piece of journalism to expose this man for the charlatan he is and the sham job he holds. The lack of popular support in his election is totally vindicated. Nascot
  • Score: 14

11:27pm Fri 23 May 14

LSC says...

*Round of applause*. Expose this man for what he is; a chancer on the gravy-train and taking his mates along for the ride.
The massive majority didn't vote for him or his post, and certainly not for full time assistants and spin doctors with OUR MONEY.

They used to say: If you want to know the time, ask a policeman. Now picture the scene, somewhere in Watford, a press conference. A press officer gets up to speak on behalf of David Lloyd...

"My name is Mr Fred Lloyd, no relation (light laughter).
I'm here to answer a question posed some months ago by a member of the public who approached Mr Lloyd and asked him the time.
This question was unscheduled and did not appear on any agenda, so quite naturally Mr Lloyd was not prepared and although very up to date with local affairs, could not be sure he had fully up to date details to hand and would never want to be seen to mislead the public.

Mr Lloyd does wear a wristwatch, but this has not been calibrated by Rolex since he bought it last year and is therefore not credible evidence of a measure of man's abstract movement in space.

Mr Lloyd therefore had no choice but to decline to answer the question posed, until he had taken advice and a short consultation period, plus a few lunches at The Grove. And dinner at the Ivy.

After a thorough investigation and report, we can now report that the time on December the 2nd, 2013, was about 3 o'clock.

Thank you. I will not be taking further questions."
*Round of applause*. Expose this man for what he is; a chancer on the gravy-train and taking his mates along for the ride. The massive majority didn't vote for him or his post, and certainly not for full time assistants and spin doctors with OUR MONEY. They used to say: If you want to know the time, ask a policeman. Now picture the scene, somewhere in Watford, a press conference. A press officer gets up to speak on behalf of David Lloyd... "My name is Mr Fred Lloyd, no relation (light laughter). I'm here to answer a question posed some months ago by a member of the public who approached Mr Lloyd and asked him the time. This question was unscheduled and did not appear on any agenda, so quite naturally Mr Lloyd was not prepared and although very up to date with local affairs, could not be sure he had fully up to date details to hand and would never want to be seen to mislead the public. Mr Lloyd does wear a wristwatch, but this has not been calibrated by Rolex since he bought it last year and is therefore not credible evidence of a measure of man's abstract movement in space. Mr Lloyd therefore had no choice but to decline to answer the question posed, until he had taken advice and a short consultation period, plus a few lunches at The Grove. And dinner at the Ivy. After a thorough investigation and report, we can now report that the time on December the 2nd, 2013, was about 3 o'clock. Thank you. I will not be taking further questions." LSC
  • Score: 11

1:10pm Sat 24 May 14

audentior01923 says...

LSC wrote:
*Round of applause*. Expose this man for what he is; a chancer on the gravy-train and taking his mates along for the ride.
The massive majority didn't vote for him or his post, and certainly not for full time assistants and spin doctors with OUR MONEY.

They used to say: If you want to know the time, ask a policeman. Now picture the scene, somewhere in Watford, a press conference. A press officer gets up to speak on behalf of David Lloyd...

"My name is Mr Fred Lloyd, no relation (light laughter).
I'm here to answer a question posed some months ago by a member of the public who approached Mr Lloyd and asked him the time.
This question was unscheduled and did not appear on any agenda, so quite naturally Mr Lloyd was not prepared and although very up to date with local affairs, could not be sure he had fully up to date details to hand and would never want to be seen to mislead the public.

Mr Lloyd does wear a wristwatch, but this has not been calibrated by Rolex since he bought it last year and is therefore not credible evidence of a measure of man's abstract movement in space.

Mr Lloyd therefore had no choice but to decline to answer the question posed, until he had taken advice and a short consultation period, plus a few lunches at The Grove. And dinner at the Ivy.

After a thorough investigation and report, we can now report that the time on December the 2nd, 2013, was about 3 o'clock.

Thank you. I will not be taking further questions."
I normally disagree with everything you say, but I have to agree with you on this one !
[quote][p][bold]LSC[/bold] wrote: *Round of applause*. Expose this man for what he is; a chancer on the gravy-train and taking his mates along for the ride. The massive majority didn't vote for him or his post, and certainly not for full time assistants and spin doctors with OUR MONEY. They used to say: If you want to know the time, ask a policeman. Now picture the scene, somewhere in Watford, a press conference. A press officer gets up to speak on behalf of David Lloyd... "My name is Mr Fred Lloyd, no relation (light laughter). I'm here to answer a question posed some months ago by a member of the public who approached Mr Lloyd and asked him the time. This question was unscheduled and did not appear on any agenda, so quite naturally Mr Lloyd was not prepared and although very up to date with local affairs, could not be sure he had fully up to date details to hand and would never want to be seen to mislead the public. Mr Lloyd does wear a wristwatch, but this has not been calibrated by Rolex since he bought it last year and is therefore not credible evidence of a measure of man's abstract movement in space. Mr Lloyd therefore had no choice but to decline to answer the question posed, until he had taken advice and a short consultation period, plus a few lunches at The Grove. And dinner at the Ivy. After a thorough investigation and report, we can now report that the time on December the 2nd, 2013, was about 3 o'clock. Thank you. I will not be taking further questions."[/p][/quote]I normally disagree with everything you say, but I have to agree with you on this one ! audentior01923
  • Score: 3

2:41pm Sat 24 May 14

oldgold says...

I've taken the liberty of forwarding Mike Wright's valuable article to a well-known fortnightly news/satire mag - not unconnected with Ian Hislop! Frightful people such as Mr Lloyd should be exposed, internationally.
I've taken the liberty of forwarding Mike Wright's valuable article to a well-known fortnightly news/satire mag - not unconnected with Ian Hislop! Frightful people such as Mr Lloyd should be exposed, internationally. oldgold
  • Score: 6

1:29am Sun 25 May 14

LSC says...

"I normally disagree with everything you say, but I have to agree with you on this one !"

Good. I'm glad you said that. I hope next time you see something I say that you don't agree with, you will debate the subject. Either of us, and anyone reading, might learn something.
"I normally disagree with everything you say, but I have to agree with you on this one !" Good. I'm glad you said that. I hope next time you see something I say that you don't agree with, you will debate the subject. Either of us, and anyone reading, might learn something. LSC
  • Score: 4

12:29pm Tue 27 May 14

garston tony says...

He is an publicly elected official and has no right to hide from us behind PR people
He is an publicly elected official and has no right to hide from us behind PR people garston tony
  • Score: 4

9:54pm Tue 27 May 14

LSC says...

garston tony wrote:
He is an publicly elected official and has no right to hide from us behind PR people
For some reason, he appears to have been allowed to write the Rule Book Tony. I'm seeing a lot of that in politics these days. It really is 'who you know'.
[quote][p][bold]garston tony[/bold] wrote: He is an publicly elected official and has no right to hide from us behind PR people[/p][/quote]For some reason, he appears to have been allowed to write the Rule Book Tony. I'm seeing a lot of that in politics these days. It really is 'who you know'. LSC
  • Score: 2

10:08pm Tue 27 May 14

LSC says...

LSC wrote:
garston tony wrote:
He is an publicly elected official and has no right to hide from us behind PR people
For some reason, he appears to have been allowed to write the Rule Book Tony. I'm seeing a lot of that in politics these days. It really is 'who you know'.
Take Ashcroft. He has more personal wealth than the entire country he lives in (true fact). He admits he hasn't paid UK tax in over 30 years.
Yet he is a Lord, and is constantly being quoted on the BBC.
I can only imagine he is a role model to Mr Lloyd.
[quote][p][bold]LSC[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]garston tony[/bold] wrote: He is an publicly elected official and has no right to hide from us behind PR people[/p][/quote]For some reason, he appears to have been allowed to write the Rule Book Tony. I'm seeing a lot of that in politics these days. It really is 'who you know'.[/p][/quote]Take Ashcroft. He has more personal wealth than the entire country he lives in (true fact). He admits he hasn't paid UK tax in over 30 years. Yet he is a Lord, and is constantly being quoted on the BBC. I can only imagine he is a role model to Mr Lloyd. LSC
  • Score: 0

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