Police and Crime Commissioner – Elections
November 8, 2012Posted by on
If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, we have at least to consider the possibility that we have a small aquatic bird of the family anatidae on our hands.
Quite clearly the ‘grey brigade’ are a pain in the backside, with too much time on their hands – most of which it would seem – is spent trawling the internet (especially before their regular visit to the doctor). Also, it would seem, as in my case, seeking information from my Member of Parliament (MP). Having followed the issue of the election of Police and Crime Commissioners (PCC) with marked ambivalence, I decided to email my MP. Having had some experience in this area I kept my email very short (viz):
Dear xxxxxxxThe information available on the remunerations for the proposed Police and Crime Commissioners seems to be limited to salaries only. Can you advise me where I can find the information on their terms and conditions for:
Your sincerely (15/10/12)
I had to follow this with on 27/10/12 with: Not having received any acknowledgement to my email – can you please confirm if any reply is likely to be forthcoming. This elicited a written reply.Unfortunately the reply confirmed what I had come to suspect – that while the government had ‘ideas’ on how the PCC would function – they had not formulated these ideas into any available sources of information regarding my query. I would go as far as to say that my MP (Conservative) either had no idea and so gave me his best guess, or that what I take to be his best guess is the ‘party line’ on this matter.
Having done my own ‘web research’ I found STATUTORY INSTRUMENTS – POLICE, ENGLAND AND WALES The Policing Protocol Order 2011
So back to Douglas Adams. I would make a number of brief points regarding what I believe is going to be the ascent of a ‘Quango’, which will create future sinecures for political party devotees. Nor do I believe that any future parliament will curtail its powers.
- This is not simply about electing a PCC. It’s about the creation of the office of PCC and the necessary support facilities, staff, office, etc. If – technically – it can’t be called a Quango because the PCC is elected, like a Quango it will create additional public service posts and all that they entail. In doing so both the PCC and the Chief Constable are enabled by law to employ staff and hold funds.(sic)
- This Protocol does not supersede or vary the legal duties and requirements of the office of constable. Chief Constables remain operationally independent. In addition, the PCC must not fetter the operational independence of the police force and the Chief Constable who leads it.(sic).
- The PCC is the recipient of all funding, including the government grant and precept and other sources of income, related to policing and crime reduction and all funding for a force must come via the PCC. How this money is allocated is a matter for the PCC in consultation with the Chief Constable, or in accordance with any grant terms. The Chief Constable will provide professional advice and recommendations. It seems to me that this contradicts 2 (above) in that it isn’t clear what is meant by ‘sources of income’ and ‘all funding for a force’. I would suspect that even if the Chief Constable retains financial and independent control over his ‘own police funds’, those of the PCC will be taken out of the same budget and passed to the PCC.
- The real power in this proposal would seem to reside with a ‘Panel’. The Government proposes to introduce Police and Crime Panels as a core element of its proposals for “appropriate checks and balances to the power of the new Police and Crime Commissioners”. The consultation paper states that Police and Crime Panels will be created in each force area and will be made up of locally elected councillors, and independent and lay members. The Panels are intended as a check and balance on the Police and Crime Commissioner, rather than on the force itself.
- The Panel provides checks and balances in relation to the performance of the PCC. The Panel does not scrutinise the Chief Constable – it scrutinises the PCC‘s exercise of their statutory functions. While the Panel is there to challenge the PCC, it must also exercise its functions with a view to supporting the effective exercise of the PCC‘s functions.(sic)
If you think that a PCC is going to be value for money – I suggest that you think again.