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Why have Police & Crime Commissioners been introduced?
In September 2011 the Coalition Government passed the Police Reform Social Responsibility Act. This Act included legislation that saw Police Authorities throughout the country replaced with directly elected Police & Crime Commissioners (PCCs). PCCs aim to cut crime and deliver an effective and efficient police service within their force area. To provide stronger and more transparent accountability of the police, PCCs are elected by the public to be the voice of the people and to hold the Chief Constable and the Force to account; effectively making the police answerable to the communities they serve.
What has happened to Lancashire Police Authority?
The Police & Crime Commissioner for Lancashire has replaced the Lancashire Police Authority membership and its members in its entirety. The Lancashire PCC has assumed the responsibility that used to be overseen by Lancashire Authority to hold the Chief Constable to account. However, there is also a Police & Crime Panel (PCP) who in turn hold the PCC to account.
How long will the elected PCC be in office?
The public will have their say at the ballot box every four years. The next election will be held in May 2024.
What is the role of the PCC?
The PCC carries out certain functions similar to that of the Police Authority, such as setting the budget, drafting the Police & Crime Plan and appointing the Chief Constable. The key difference is that they have sole responsibility for those functions, rather than the 17 members of the Police Authority that operated corporately. The PCC is also a commissioning body, responsible for commissioning services relating to community safety and victims. This puts an even greater emphasis on partnership working, especially with Community Safety Partnerships and other agencies within the wider criminal justice system.
The elected PCC represents a political party. Does this mean Lancashire Constabulary will become politicised?
By definition, an elected individual is a politician whether or not they are affiliated to one political party or another. However, the operational side of policing remains the responsibility of the Chief Constable and should be unaffected by party politics.
Why such a long title as ‘Police & Crime Commissioner for Lancashire’?
The policy, role and name was decided on and voted for by Parliament when they introduced the position as part of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011. In explanation to their thinking, the idea behind including the ‘Crime’ part of the title was to try and emphasise the fact that the Police & Crime Commissioner is involved in more than just policing, but also in the wider criminal justice system, including victims, offenders, probation and more. There may also have been concern that calling the role Police Commissioners would cause confusion with the Police Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police who is the equivalent of Lancashire’s Chief Constable.
Who sets how much the Police & Crime Commissioner for Lancashire is paid?
The PCC needs to be highly motivated and determined to deliver the best results and above all, be focused on making the community that they serve safe. The Home Office wanted to make sure that a suitable and proportionate remuneration is achieved for such a challenging and rewarding role. The Home Secretary has laid a written ministerial statement outlining PCC pay following recommendations put forward by the senior salaries review board report (SSRB). The salary range has been adjusted to represent differences in force weighting and policing challenges and has been aligned but is not equal to Chief Constable salaries. The policing challenges a PCC faces is different depending on the specific needs and demands of the force area.