Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Police and Crime Commissioner elections


The first ever elections for Police and Crime Commissioners will be held on 15 November 2012.

Each of the 41 police force areas in England and Wales outside of London, including Cumbria, will directly-elect a Commissioner.

Commissioners are at the heart of the Government's programme of decentralisation, where power is returned to people and communities.

Instead of bureaucratic, Whitehall-led control of the police we will see democratic accountability with the public having more say over how their area is policed.

What will Police and Crime Commissioners do?

Commissioners will be local figures with powerful mandates from the public to drive the fight against crime and anti-social behaviour.

Commissioners will decide policing strategy and the force budget. They will set the local council tax precept and appoint - and if necessary dismiss - the chief constable. And all of this will be done on behalf of the public who elect them.

Police and Crime Commissioners will replace the existing police authorities and have a much larger role.

As their title - Police and Crime Commissioners - suggests they will have a broad remit to ensure community safety, with their own budgets to prevent crime and tackle drugs.

Working with local authorities, community safety partnerships and local criminal justice boards, Commissioners will help bring a strategic coherence to the actions of these organisations across each police force.

Police and Crime Commissioners will also have responsibility for strategic policing - they will have to address national issues as well as local concerns.

However, they will NOT have day to day operational control over the police: that will remain with the Chief constable. Police and Crime Commissioners will not have the power to tell a sworn officer of the crown whether or not to arrest someone.

A single and accountable individual

Commissioners will be a single elected individual who will take executive decisions, supported by a highly qualified team.

The principle of one accountable individual, directly responsible for the totality of police force activity is central to the Government's vision of the new policing landscape.

The buck for setting policing strategy will stop with commissioners, and the public will cast judgement at the ballot box, voting out commissioners who don't cut crime or address local concerns.


The Conservative party is looking for very high calibre candidates for what will be high profile and public roles. Applications have closed for 12 Police Authority areas, Cumbria is one of 29 force areas in which applications will remain open for a few more days. However, anyone reading this who is interested in applying and has not already done so would be wise to move quickly.

Police and Crime Commissioners will have to be leaders.

Commissioners will need to work with the police as well as with other local agencies while engaging with the public and the media.

We will be casting the net widely and certainly will look beyond those who have previously worked on police authorities.

Commissioners could come with experience as business leaders, from military or policing backgrounds, from national as well as local politics, or from other fields.

Anyone reading this who is registered as an elector in Cumbria and is interested in applying to be the Conservative candidate for Police and Crime Commissioner for the county can ask for an application form online at the Conservative Party Website here.


Tim said...

All hugely irrelevant ! What we need in Britain are policemen and women on the beat as a highly visual deterrent to crime. Sadly PC has come to mean something entirely different in 2012. Behind the scenes should be a workforce who care not one iota whether the criminal in front of them is black, white, gay or straight as long as they are duly processed. Backing this up should be a thoroughly unpleasant prison system that feeds them and works them hard - no TVs, playstations or other luxuries.

Tim J said...

I tried! And believe me, I tried. I joined the Party but was registered with Alton conservatives by virtue of the fact that my mailing address is Hampshire. I told 'Alton' and tried to remedy the situation on line with the Party without success. I contacted both local MPs, expecting a 'Band of Brothers' to form; I got polite replies "wishing e luck". As a Carlisle boy through and through. Have a great deal of empathy with the people of Cumbria. As a Commander in the Royal Navy, with extensive leadership and management experience along with working knowledge of Whitehall at Ministeial level, law enforcement and sound business acumen I relished the challenge but was beaten by bureaucracy. After the local election and mayor election showings I thought that we might grab a conservative runner. What a shame!

Chris Whiteside said...

Tim - I agree with a lot of what you say, but I do think that replacing the partly indirectly elected and partly appointed police authorities with directly elected commissioners will make policing more accountable to the public. Not by making the job of the police more difficult, but by making the people to whom the police are responsible more accountable themselves to the public.

Tim J - sorry to hear your attempts to get a chance to stand have not to date been successful. Don't give up - the country needs people who are willing to step up to the plate and put their name forward for things, especially those who have the experience you describe.

Tim J said...

Thank you for your positive comment. Unfortunately the deadliine has now phased and so I will have to wait and sort put the mess at the next election in 4 years time. Rest assured I will be ready for the challenge!