Poor Candidate Choice (PCC)
A recent post Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) – Elections was an attempt at enlightenment with regard to next Thursdays PCC elections, as it presented a cynical view on these elections I thought that I should do some more research and perhaps be a bit more objective. Having done so, I find myself even more cynical about this charade and stand by those adverse comments that this is a Quango and a future sinecure for political hacks.
However, whether you choose to vote, spoil your paper or simply not bother to vote, the corporation sole Police and Crime Commissioners (PCC) are a body that I believe is here to stay. The role is incorporated to pass vertically in time from one office holder to the next successor-in-office, giving the positions legal continuity with subsequent office holders having identical powers to their predecessors.
The office of the PCC is not going to be an ‘independent’ body any more than central or local government are independent bodies. The ‘Office of the PCC‘ will be an extension of Central Government in collusion with Local Government. This, regardless of any political party allegiances.
Perhaps once the brouhaha over these elections has abated we will all forget that they ever happened. The Offices of the PCC will be established and if the registered vote in the elections is poor then future PCCs may have to be ‘political appointments’, acknowledging the reality of the forthcoming elections.
If I sigh deeply, shrug my shoulders, and resign myself to this ‘ersatz democracy’ I find myself living in, let me highlight a few more things:
PCCs are required to publish the necessary information that enables public to assess their performance and that of the Chief Constable. In addition they are required to publish particularly information specified by the Home Secretary in the Elected Local Policing Bodies (Specific Information) Order 2011 and in regulations issued under section 11 of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011.
PCCs can enter into any local contract for services, individually or collectively with other local partners, including non- police bodies.
A PCC may decide to accept gifts of money, gifts or loans of other property if they will enable the police either to enhance or extend the service which they would normally be expected to provide. The terms on which gifts or loans are accepted may allow commercial sponsorship of some police force activities.
The Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 gives a PCC responsibility for the totality of policing within their force area. It further requires them to hold the force Chief Constable to account for the operational delivery of policing including in relation to the Strategic Policing Requirement published by the Home Secretary.
The Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) has public accountability for the delivery and performance of the police service on behalf of their electorate, drawing on their mandate to set and shape the strategic objectives of their force area in consultation with the Chief Constable. The PCC is accountable to the electorate and the Chief Constable is accountable to the PCC.
The police and crime commissioner for a police area may appoint a person as the deputy police and crime commissioner for that police area, and arrange for the deputy police and crime commissioner to exercise any function of the police and crime commissioner.
An elected PCC is expected to enter into collaboration agreements with other PCCs, other policing bodies and partners that improve the efficiency or effectiveness of policing for one or more policing bodies or police forces in consultation with their Chief Constable (where this relates to the functions of the police force, then it must be with the agreement of the Chief Constable.
Within each force area there is a Police and Crime Panel empowered to maintain a regular check and balance on the performance of the PCC. The Panel is to to provide the local link between the police and communities, working to translate the legitimate desires and aspirations of the public into action. A PCC is expected to comply with all reasonable formal requests from the Panel to attend their meetings and is to prepare and issue an annual report to the Panel on the PCC‘s delivery against the objectives set within the Police and Crime Plan.
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