Friday, 10 February 2012

Police and Crime Commissioners?

I have to confess that this major constitutional change to the way in which the Queen's Peace is kept completely passed me by. It seems that those lucky enough to live beyond the purview of The Boris (he is effectively also to be in charge of the Met through a new Office for Policing and Crime, the Metropolitan Police Authority apparently having been abolished at Christmas), are to be asked to elect somebody to run policing (and crime?) in your local police jurisdiction.  These Commissioners are to replace Police Authorities which used to be an indirectly elected collection of local councilors and other appointed worthies (at least one Magistrate), which approved budgets and kept the Chief Constable in check.  Like the new fad in elected Mayors, these new Commissioners are going to have lots of Executive authority concentrated in their single sets of hands, but overseen by a "Panel"  (which will in fact be a Committee of the local authority (ies) with some worthies co-opted and will in fact be just like the old Police Authority).

In fact between the current arrangements of Chief Constable and the Authority (sorry, Panel) there now appears to be shoehorned a new layer of leadership constituted by a directly elected egomaniac....the most worrying development is that Baron Prescott, of Kingston upon Hull in the County of East Yorkshire is standing for election as a Commissioner.

This may encourage other clapped out ex-politicians to re-invigorate their careers via this dubious innovation.  Poor Chief Constables, not only must they fight crime, they will now have face Prescott and his ilk...Bring back the Custos Rotulorum! 

The Home Office explains it all beautifully:

Police and crime commissioners (PCCs) will aim to cut crime and deliver an effective and efficient police service within their force area.
To provide stronger and more transparent accountability of the police, PCCs will be elected by the public to hold chief constables and the force to account; effectively making the police answerable to the communities they serve.
PCCs will ensure community needs are met as effectively as possible, and will improve local relationships through building confidence and restoring trust. They will also work in partnership across a range of agencies at local and national level to ensure there is a unified approach to preventing and reducing crime.
PCCs will not be expected to run the police. The role of the PCC is to be the voice of the people and hold the police to account.

1 comment:

  1. If you want to keep abreast of developments and look at who is running in your area, have a look at