Police and Crime Commissioner

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A Police and Crime Commissioner is an elected representative charged with securing efficient and effective policing of a police area in England and Wales. The first incumbents were elected on 15 November 2012. Commissioners replaced the now abolished police authorities.

Separate arrangements exist for London. Policing in Scotland and Northern Ireland has been devolved to the Scottish Parliament and Northern Ireland Assembly, respectively. In Scotland, the Cabinet Secretary for Justice serves in a similar capacity for Police Scotland while in Northern Ireland, the Minister of Justice fulfills a similar role for the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

The post of Police and Crime Commissioner should not be confused with the police rank of "Commissioner", held by the chief police officers for the Metropolitan Police Service and the City of London Police, which cover the two police areas in London.

Background[edit]

In the 2010 British general election campaign, both the Conservative Party and Liberal Democrats' manifestos outlined plans, respectively, to replace or reform the existing police authorities, both parties raising concerns about the perceived lack of accountability of police authorities to the communities they serve. Following the election the 2010 Conservative – Liberal Democrat coalition agreement set out that:

We will introduce measures to make the police more accountable through oversight by a directly elected individual, who will be subject to strict checks and balances by locally elected representatives.[1]


Later in 2010 the Government published 'Policing in the 21st Century', a consultation on the Government's vision for policing, including the introduction of Police and Crime Commissioners. This was followed by the introduction of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill into Parliament in December 2010. The Bill received Royal Assent on 15 September 2011, becoming the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011.[2]

The first elections for Police and Crime Commissioners were held on 15 November 2012, and the new Commissioners took office on 22 November 2012. They replace the existing police authority framework. The next elections will take place in May 2016 and every four years after that

The Association of Police and Crime Commissioners has been commissioned by the Home Office to facilitate co-ordination, representation and support for Police and Crime Commissioners and police governance bodies from November 2012. http://www.apccs.police.uk

Eligibility for election[edit]

Candidates must be 18 or over and registered to vote within the police area on the date of nomination. Members of the House of Lords are not barred from standing. Members of the House of Commons are not barred from standing but, if they win, they must resign before they can take up a PCC appointment.

Those disqualified from standing/continuing to hold office include:

Candidates must secure the signatures of 100 people registered to vote within the force area in which they wish to stand and must pay a deposit of £5,000.[citation needed]

Nominations for the 2012 elections closed at 12:00 on 19 October 2012.[4]

Oath of impartiality[edit]

On 16 August 2012 the Home Office announced that every newly elected Police and Crime Commissioner would be required to swear an "oath of impartiality" before taking office. The oath reads:[5]

I do solemnly and sincerely promise that I will serve all the people of Police Force Area in the office of Police and Crime Commissioner without fear or favour. I will act with integrity and diligence in my role and, to the best of my ability, will execute the duties of my office to ensure that the police are able to cut crime and protect the public. I will give a voice to the public, especially victims of crime and work with other services to ensure the safety of the community and effective criminal justice. I will take all steps within my power to ensure transparency of my decisions, so that I may be properly held to account by the public. I will not seek to influence or prevent any lawful and reasonable investigation or arrest, nor encourage any police action save that which is lawful and justified within the bounds of this office.

The Minister for Policing and Criminal Justice, Nick Herbert said:[5]

Police and crime commissioners will be important public servants and it is right that they make a formal public commitment to the communities they will serve. Although police and crime commissioners may stand for a political party, the public will expect them to represent all the people in their area impartially, without fear or favour. The swearing of an oath will be an important symbol of this impartiality, emphasising both the significance of this new role in local communities and that commissioners are there to serve the people, not a political party or any one section of their electorate. An oath will also underline the particular importance of even-handedness in an office which holds to account the local chief constable and police force who themselves are bound to serve impartially.

The newly formed Association of Police and Crime Commissioners, set up to act as an "umbrella body" for the elected PCCs, announced it had been asked by the Home Office to "seek views from police authorities and prospective candidates on the wording of the oath".[6] By the time the first Police and Crime Commissioners had been elected, in November 2012, the original Home Office text of the "Oath of Impartiality" had been significantly modified. As an example, this is the amended oath actually delivered by the Police and Crime Commissioner for Avon and Somerset :-

I Sue Mountstevens of North Somerset do hereby declare that I accept the office of Police and Crime Commissioner for Avon and Somerset. In making this declaration, I solemnly and sincerely promise that during my term in office:

I will serve all the people of Avon and Somerset in the office of Police and Crime Commissioner. I will act with integrity and diligence in my role and, to the best of my ability, will execute the duties of my office to ensure that the police are able to cut crime and protect the public. I will give a voice to the public, especially victims of crime, and work with other services to ensure the safety of the community and effective criminal justice. I will take all steps within my power to ensure transparency of my decisions, so that I may be properly held to account by the public. I will not interfere with the operational independence of police officers.

In South Wales the title "Oath of Impartiality" was replaced by the term "Oath of Office" on the PCC's website with no mention of "impartiality".[7] In other police areas, like Thames Valley, the PCC's website describes it simply as "The Oath".[8]

The written form of the oath which is signed by all PCCs on taking office is not headed "Oath of Impartiality" but "Declaration of Acceptance of Office" [9]

Role and functions[edit]

The core functions of Police and Crime Commissioners are to secure the maintenance of an efficient and effective police force within their area, and to hold the Chief constable to account for the delivery of the police and crime plan.[10] Police and Crime Commissioners will be charged with holding the police fund (from which all policing of the area is financed) and raising the local policing precept from council tax.[11] Police and Crime Commissioners will also be responsible for the appointment, suspension and dismissal of the Chief Constable.[12]

Police and crime plans[edit]

Shortly after their election to office, a Police and Crime Commissioner must produce a "police and crime plan". That plan must include his or her objectives for policing, what resources will be provided to the Chief Constable and how performance will be measured.[13] Both the Police and Crime Commissioner and the Chief Constable must have regard to the police and crime plan in the exercise of their duties. The PCC is required to produce an annual report to the public on progress in policing.[14]

Police funding[edit]

Police and Crime Commissioners hold the 'police fund', from which all policing is financed. The bulk of funding for the police fund comes from the Home Office in the form of an annual grant (calculated on a proportionate basis by the Home Office to take into account the differences between the 43 forces in England and Wales, which vary significantly in terms of population, geographical size, crime levels and trends), though Commissioners will also set a precept on the Council Tax to raise additional funds. Plans under the Localism Bill will trigger a referendum where a Commissioner intends to increase the precept by an amount deemed to be excessive (as defined in the Localism Bill). It will be the Commissioner's responsibility to set the budget for the force area, which includes allocating enough money from the overall policing budget to ensure that he or she can discharge his or her own functions effectively.

Police and Crime Panels[edit]

The Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 established Police and Crime Panels within each force area in England and Wales (excluding Greater London).[15] These panels consist of at least one representative from each local authority in that area, and at least two independent members co-opted by the panel.[16]

Panels are responsible for scrutinising commissioners' decisions and ensuring this information is available to the public. They must review the commissioner's draft police and crime plan and draft annual report before publication, and the commissioner must give their comments due consideration. A Police and Crime Panel may require the attendance of the commissioner or a member of his or her staff at any time, and may suspend a commissioner from office where he or she is charged with a serious criminal offence.[17] Police and Crime Panels will be able to veto a Commissioner's proposed precept or proposed candidate for Chief Constable by a two-thirds majority.[18]

Current Police and Crime Commissioners[edit]

England[edit]

Police and Crime Commissioners of England
Police AreaPolice and Crime Commissioner
Avon and Somerset ConstabularySue Mountstevens (Independent)
Bedfordshire PoliceOlly Martins (Labour)
Cambridgeshire ConstabularyGraham Bright (Conservative)
Cheshire ConstabularyJohn Dwyer (Conservative)
City of London PoliceThe City of London does not have a Police and Crime Commissioner - instead the City of London Corporation acts as the local policing body.
Cleveland PoliceBarry Coppinger (Labour)
Cumbria ConstabularyRichard Rhodes (Conservative)
Derbyshire ConstabularyAlan Charles (Labour)
Devon and Cornwall PoliceTony Hogg (Conservative)
Dorset PoliceMartyn Underhill (Independent)
Durham ConstabularyRon Hogg (Labour)
Essex PoliceNicholas Alston (Conservative)
Gloucestershire ConstabularyMartin Surl (Independent)
Greater Manchester PoliceTony Lloyd (LabourGreater Manchester Police and Crime Commissioner)
Hampshire ConstabularySimon Hayes (Independent)
Hertfordshire ConstabularyDavid Lloyd (Conservative)
Humberside PoliceMatthew Grove (Conservative)
Kent PoliceAnn Barnes (Independent)
Lancashire ConstabularyClive Grunshaw (Labour)
Leicestershire PoliceClive Loader (Conservative)
Lincolnshire PoliceAlan Hardwick (Independent)
Merseyside PoliceJane Kennedy (Labour)
Metropolitan Police ServiceThe Mayor of London is, in effect, the Police and Crime Commissioner for the Metropolitan Police District.[19]
Norfolk ConstabularyStephen Bett (Independent)
Northamptonshire PoliceAdam Simmonds (Conservative)
Northumbria PoliceVera Baird (Labour)
North YorkshireJulia Mulligan (Conservative)
Nottinghamshire PolicePaddy Tipping (Labour)
South Yorkshire PoliceShaun Wright (Labour)
Staffordshire PoliceMatthew Ellis (Conservative)
Suffolk ConstabularyTim Passmore (Conservative)
Surrey PoliceKevin Hurley (Zero Tolerance Policing)
Sussex PoliceKaty Bourne (Conservative)
Thames Valley PoliceAnthony Stansfeld (Conservative)
Warwickshire PoliceRon Ball (Independent)
West Mercia PoliceBill Longmore (Independent)
West Midlands PoliceBob Jones (Labour)
West Yorkshire PoliceMark Burns-Williamson (Labour)
Wiltshire PoliceAngus Macpherson (Conservative)

Wales[edit]

Police and Crime Commissioners of Wales
Police AreaPolice and Crime Commissioner
Dyfed-Powys PoliceChristopher Salmon (Conservative)
Gwent PoliceIan Johnston (Independent)
North Wales PoliceWinston Roddick (Liberal Democrats)
South Wales PoliceAlun Michael (Labour Co-operative)

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Coalition: our programme for government". UK Cabinet Office Website. Retrieved 28 September 2011. 
  2. ^ "Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill Progress". UK Parliament Website. Retrieved 28 September 2011. 
  3. ^ "Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011, Section 68". Legislation.gov.uk. Retrieved 2013-04-01. 
  4. ^ "Police and Crime Commissioner elections". Electoral Commission. Retrieved 2013-04-01. 
  5. ^ a b "Police and crime commissioners to swear an oath of impartiality - News stories - Inside Government - GOV.UK". Homeoffice.gov.uk. 2012-08-16. Retrieved 2013-04-01. 
  6. ^ "Association of Police and Crime Commissioners". Apccs.police.uk. Retrieved 2013-04-01. 
  7. ^ [1][dead link]
  8. ^ "The Oath". Thamesvalley-pcc.gov.uk. Retrieved 2013-04-01. 
  9. ^ "Oath of Impartiality". Avonandsomerset-pcc.gov.uk. Retrieved 2013-04-01. 
  10. ^ "Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 (Section 1)". UK Legislation. Retrieved 28 September 2011. 
  11. ^ "Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 (Chapter 3)". UK Legislation. Retrieved 28 September 2011. 
  12. ^ "Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 (Chapter 5)". UK Legislation. Retrieved 28 September 2011. 
  13. ^ "Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 (Sections 7 and 9)". UK Legislation. Retrieved 28 September 2011. 
  14. ^ "Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 (Section 12)". UK Legislation. Retrieved 28 September 2011. 
  15. ^ "Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 (Section 28)". UK Legislation. Retrieved 28 September 2011. 
  16. ^ "Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 (Schedule 6)". UK Legislation. Retrieved 28 September 2011. 
  17. ^ "Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 (Sections 28-30)". UK Legislation. Retrieved 28 September 2011. 
  18. ^ "Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 (Schedules 6 and 8)". UK Legislation. Retrieved 28 September 2011. 
  19. ^ "Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 (Section 3)". UK Legislation. Retrieved 28 September 2011. 

External links[edit]