Paul Stainton: Enough to make you stand and stare

Peterborough Telegraph's Man behind the mic column by Paul Stainton, BBC Radio Cambridgeshire host - peterboroughtoday.co.uk
Peterborough Telegraph's Man behind the mic column by Paul Stainton, BBC Radio Cambridgeshire host - peterboroughtoday.co.uk
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Judging from the vast array of pictures I have seen, a great many people in Peterborough got up in the middle of the night this week to stand and stare at the sky.

These people were not desperate for a moonlight tiddle or in a state of paralysis, due to their VW Golf’s newly discovered diesel emissions.

They were not Lib Dems searching for the long, lost Nick Clegg or Peterborough City Council planners seeking inspiration, ahead of their upcoming decision on “Cinemagate” – No these folks were out in their jim jams, in the wee small hours, desperately hoping for a glimpse of the blood red, “Supermoon.”

Like a street cleaner in Millfield, it’s not something that you see every day of the week, but nevertheless, I preferred to stay in bed and look at their pictures later, at a more reasonable hour.

The rarity of these celestial events has led many Mormons to cite the blood moon as a sign of the end of days, although I doubt the veracity of that particular hypothesis, seen as the last “Supermoon” lunar eclipse happened 32 years ago and most of us are still here to tell the tale.

It won’t surprise you to learn though that this isn’t the only theory which I have had reason to question this week.

Take, for instance, the warning from police chiefs that they are too broke to patrol our streets because of the recent cuts in their budget.

I am sure things are tough, but if money really is that tight then why are we in Cambridgeshire still being forced to spend hundreds of thousands of pounds per year on the costly experiment that is the Police and Crime Commissioner?

Just imagine what our new top cop, Alec Wood, could do with that mountain of cash – extra officers on the beat, more call handlers for the 101 service and who knows, he may even be able to afford to put some petrol in the patrol cars.

Sir Graham Bright’s post was supposed to make the police more accountable, but at what cost to the public purse in Cambridgeshire?

He has been constantly criticised for his lack of transparency and his failure to engage with the public and it is possible that he may not even stand again for the role.

I for one have tried and failed on numerous occasions to engage with him and get him to answer even the most basic of questions on the BIG Conversation, all to no avail.

In letters that he has written to concerned members of the public (which I have seen) he claims that I have a personal agenda against him, when in fact the only agenda that I am pursuing is the truth. He is a public figure who is being financed by you and I, and he should be held to account.

So, do we all feel more engaged with the county’s police force due to Sir Graham’s work or have you still no idea who he is or what he does? Can we afford this post that nobody asked for and all the costs associated with it, when the budget for policing is being cut so drastically?

Or is it time we let the police do their job and give them the money to do that job properly? Now there’s a thought.