New legislation has been passed which will radically shift the decision-making on policing away from government to communities by giving local communities the power to elect police and crime commissioners.
The roleFor the first time, elected police and crime commissioners (PCCs) will give the public a direct say in policing in their area. The PCC will hold police forces and chief constables to account. This is a challenging but pivotal opportunity to serve the public. PCCs will set local policing priorities and decide how your council tax is spent on crime and policing issues. As well as planning policing budgets they will also:
- drive community safety and overall security in the area
- work with local partnerships and national and regional criminal justice agencies and services
- build and foster relationships with the chief constable and community groups to achieve common goals
- contribute to national policing capabilities
ResponsibilitiesPCCs will be elected for four years and will be required to publish a police and crime plan. This will set out the police and crime objectives of the force area. Chief constables will remain responsible for operational matters, however PPCs will have the authority to hire and, if necessary, dismiss the chief constable.
ScrutinyPCCs will be scrutinised by police and crime panels, which will be formed of a minimum of 10 representatives from the local authorities in the force area. The duties of the panel include:
- requiring the PCC to respond to any concerns they have
- making recommendations on the crime plan and annual reports
- confirming or vetoing the PCC's appointment of chief constable and the level of local tax (the precept level)
Who can stand for election?Candidates must:
- be a British, Commonwealth or EU citizen
- be 18 years of age or over
- be resident in the police force area
How to stand for election?The first election is scheduled for November 2012. Further details about the election process and how to stand will be posted early in the New Year.
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