On Thursday 15 November, certain boroughs will be voting for the first time for a newly elected police & commissioner (PCC). And although media coverage of this event has been scarce, if you want to have your say in how your area is policed, if you feel that victims of crime need more of a say or that more needs to done to tackle antisocial behaviour on your street then it is down to you to find out who your candidates are. Some people have been lucky enough to receive leaflets through their doors, which clearly gives them some insight into who is standing for these elections. Other boroughs however, have had no information posted or given out, and people are having to do their own research on their local candidates.
There is a simple way to find out who is standing for the PCC role in your area, all you have to do is visit this site – choosemypcc.org.uk, which will take you directly to a page where you can put in your postcode and your candidates automatically pop up.
So what is the role of the PCC and what will they be able to do for us? PCCs will make and influence key decisions that will impact on how your local area looks and feels – from CCTV, street lighting and graffiti to tackling gangs and drug-dealing. It is their job is to listen to the public and then respond to their needs, bringing more of a public voice to policing and giving the public a name and a face to complain to if they aren’t satisfied. It is the job of the police and crime commissioner to ensure the policing needs of their communities are met as effectively as possible, bringing communities closer to the police, building confidence in the system and restoring trust.
PCC’s have the power to
- hold the chief constable to account for the delivery of the force
- set and update a police and crime plan
- set the force budget and precept
- regularly engage with the public and communities
- appoint, and where necessary dismiss, the chief constable
PCCs will also work with your council and other organisations to promote and enable joined up working on community safety and criminal justice. The PCC is not elected to ‘run’ the police force. Chief constables will continue to be responsible for the day to day operations of the police, but they will be accountable to the public via the police and crime commissioner. What they will do is ensure an effective policing contribution alongside other partners to national arrangements to protect the public from other cross-boundary threats.
PCCs will be required to swear an oath of impartiality when they are elected to office. The oath is designed so that PCCs can set out publicly their commitment to tackling their new role with integrity. It will reflect the commitment police officers make to serve every member of the public impartially and make clear that they are there to serve the people, not a political party or any one section of their electorate.