NOW that polling cards for the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) election have dropped through people’s letterboxes, I think it’s a good time to remind everyone that this really is an important election. It will give local people a greater say in how their area is policed.
The Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 was passed by Parliament in September 2011, and one of the key parts of the Act was to introduce the role of an elected Police and Crime Commissioner for each of the 41 police force areas in England and Wales outside London.
Each police force area will hold an election on Thursday, November 15, 2012, for the first Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC). (Postal votes had to be in by October 31.) The Police and Crime Commissioner is a new job introduced by the Government to bring direct democratic accountability. The Commissioner will be a local figure with a powerful mandate directly from the public and will actively drive the fight against crime and anti-social behaviour in the West Midlands.
The Commissioner will set the priorities for the police in the West Midlands and will set the annual budget and Council Tax Precept. He or she will also have the power to hire or fire the Chief Constable.
In the West Midlands election there are seven candidates standing – from all the main political parties as well as independents.
The most important point is to vote for a candidate: this is your chance to help shape the way your area is policed in the future.
I hope everyone who is eligible to vote in Meriden will take the opportunity to do so. You can find more details about the election on http://www.solihull.gov.uk/democracy/21720.htm.