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Police & Crime Commissioners

11 Feb

Earlier this week I tweeted a thought that in order to minimise the politicisation of policing the role of Deputy Police & Crime Commissioner ( a position to which one is appointed by the Police & Crime Commissioner) should only be open to those who are genuinely independent and not affiliated to any political party.

I am grateful to the Association of Police Authorities for pointing out that the original proposal from the government was that Police & Crime Commissioners could not stand on a party political ticket.
Sadly that has changed.

Is this, plus the cost prohibitive financial requirements, the reason why nationally there is a dearth of candidates?

Should party politics (local or national) have any role in policing?

Both Labour & Tories have in past few years come up with differing solutions to what they see as the issue – Police Authorities in their current guise do not work.

Consequently in November there will be elections for Police & Crime Commissioners. A low turn out for voters has been forecast.

But as the PCC in North Yorkshire will choose / appoint the new Chief Constable should the public take more of an interest & active part in the debate re candidates for PCCs?

Should there be a head to head debate on local radio with PCC candidates?

Will PCC candidates also visit injured cops at the Police Treatment Centres (or if in south the Police Rehabilitation Centre)?

How do PCC candidates intend to engage with the Police Federation? Will they answer a questionnaire which we will prepare with issues our members would like clarity on?

Will they attend an open meeting with our members?

If elected will they have public meetings out of office hours so the general public can get to them and have proper engagement?

Will PCCs explain to the public exactly what they will do with the extra council tax revenue they get from new housing and commercial developments?

Recent events in Humberside have generated a lot of media interest in what had hitherto been something of a damp squib nationally.
http://bit.ly/wTP8wm

I make no comment on the candidates who have thus far declared anywhere in the country.

But in addition to the questions raised above would ask what role is there for anyone currently involved with Police Authorities? If they cannot stand as PCC (with their party backing) – why not? If they can and do then what has changed?

What happens to the current Chief Executive of Police Authorites, who are full time employees with a major role at present? Do they need to be publicly accountable? If so why not tap into their expertise, saving training costs, whilst making them accountable & make them Deputy PCCs?

And The Guardian ran these pertinent questions:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/public-leaders-network/blog/2012/jan/30/ten-questions-police-crime-commissioners
Given the huge cost of moving to PCCs, as highlighted by Associaiton of Police Authorities in their rearguard action to prevent their own demise, should the debate not move from one centred around celebrity personality or high profile to one about the serious issues some of which I believe are set out above?

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4 Comments

Posted by on February 11, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

4 responses to “Police & Crime Commissioners

  1. Dave Hasney

    February 11, 2012 at 6:34 pm

    As we head towards the November elections, which will be here far sooner than we expect, there really is a need for the public to get their heads around the PCC issues. I’m convinced that many don’t really understand the finer points, and probably just as many, don’t really give a hoot.

    Your “head to head debate on local radio with PCC candidates” idea would at least provoke some comment/interest but, based on those I have spoken with, I still can’t help thinking; the whole process is likely to get as much public support as the proverbial damp squib. After all, as a society, turnout of the electorate for general/local elections has been in almost terminal decline for years. Can we honestly expect more from the PCC elections?

     
  2. @CllrJonSHarvey

    February 14, 2012 at 11:28 am

    Hallo. Glad you found my questions pertinent. Your questions raise some critical issues too:

    – Dearth – due to a number of factors not least low level of understanding and even awareness of the new role. But it is more than that…

    – Party politics already has a role in policing, in my view. It is a question as to what extent this goes. Certainly politicians should not be deciding on individual operational decisions.

    – yes! Everyone should take more interest!

    – absolutely the PCC candidates should be ‘out there’ on the radio, at the school gate, in the shopping centres etc etc… and at all times of the day

    – any PCC worth his/her salt should be willing to meet in open dialogue with your members

    – visiting injured and healthy cops – yes – of course

    – the PCCs must be able to explain where money is spent and why

    – I suspect some PA members and chairs will stand. Whether they can do this while still being involved in PA – I am not sure. Need to check the law. Could be tricky…

    – Chief Execs will carry on and are written into the new constitution. Ditto Chief Financial Officers. Deputy PCCs will be people appointed by PCCs – maybe politically maybe professionally… this is an issue that needs bottoming out, I feel

    – it is my sincere hope that the people who become PCCs will not be elected because of some celebrity status but on the quality of their manifesto promises and the calibre of their leadership – especially their ability to listen to and engage with local people and communities.

     
  3. samchapman

    February 14, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    Well, however damp the squib, they will still have more of a mandate than Police Authorities, many of whose members have never been elected by anyone, and who can never be voted out. Find out more about what’s happening in the Police and Crime Commissioner elections at http://www.TopOfTheCops.com

     

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