On 15th November this year, the first Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) will be elected in each of the 41 police force areas across England and Wales outside London. PCCs are at the heart of the Government’s programme of decentralisation, where power is returned to people and communities.
PCCs will ensure that the police are held to account democratically at the ballot box, not bureaucratically by Whitehall.
There will be strong checks and balances in place to ensure that the public have access to robust and objective information about force performance.
PCCs will have specific responsibility to:
l work with the communities in their force area and identify their policing needs;
l set priorities by agreeing a local strategic plan for the force;
l hold the Chief Constable to account for achieving these priorities;
l set the force budget and the policing precept in council tax bills, and
l appoint - and, if necessary, remove - the Chief Constable.
PCC candidates should be of the highest possible calibre: dynamic leaders, community champions, business people and entrepreneurs should all consider standing. People from all backgrounds are wanted, especially those who have built or led organisations and who are committed to public service.
The Home Office website has launched a new section with more information about PCCs: http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/police/police-crime-commissioners/. I am happy to receive suggestions for suitable PCC candidates in this area. Please send them to me by email: email@example.com.