Friday, 19 October 2012

Police & Crime Commissioners

In 27 days time, elections will be held across England and Wales to appoint the 41 new Police & Crime Commissioners whose job it will be to ensure an efficient and effective police service within their area, and to hold the Chief Constable to account. They will also have responsibility for setting the budget for the local police service for the year.

The period of time for candidates to be nominated for this role expired today, and in Warwickshire three candidates have put themselves forward:

Ron Ball, Fraser Pithie, James Plaskitt

Right from the very start I have been strongly in favour of the creation of these new Police & Crime Commissioner positions, to replace the almost invisible police authorities. I shall blog more in the lead up to the elections as to why I think they're a good thing. For the moment, I'll just make two comments:

In response to suggestions that policing shouldn't be made political, I'd like to know why not? If housing, social services, leisure, highways, food safety, planning and education can be oversee by democratically elected bodies, why should policing be treated differently when it impacts so much on everyone's lives. And the election of Police & Crime Commissioners will actually help Chief Constables be less political, not more, as the most senior uniformed officer rightly becomes focused on being accountable for operational delivery matters and less on getting involved in debates on matters of public policy.

But most of all, Warwickshire's new Police & Crime Commissioner will be publicly accountable for policing matters far more so than Phil Robson ever was (he's the current chair of Warwickshire Police Authority for the 99.99% of the population who've never heard of him). I guarentee the public profile and awareness of either Ron Ball, Fraser Pithie or James Plaskitt in the first three months of their four year term of office will exceed anything that Phil Robson could ever dream of.

In addition to the three candidates websites, there's also a dedicated website for the Warwickshire elections here, which has more information.


  1. To be honest Dan I could almost agree with you. I just think it is for Government to set the rules and what needs to be achieved. I think it is up to to those accountable to be able to achieve it within the Guidelines given. I Just happen to think no one candidate in this particular instance should fly a political flag or tow a party line. I actually feel the same when it comes to the rest of all our emergency services. Just my thoughts


  2. Thanks for your comments Carrie, but I can't help feel that you seem to be wanting a national police force, with decisions made centrally in Whitehall, rather than each county force exercising autonomy. I don't agree that this would give us better policing.

    There are always 'political' decisions that need to be made - Should Warwickshire undertake its strategic alliance with the West Mercia force? Does the public want to pay a higher Council Tax precept in order to keep more bobbies on the beat? Was it right that police HQ in Leek Wootton was sold off to save money? Why is the detection rate for crime in Warwickshire so low compared to other forces? If you think these sorts of issues are better left to civil servants in Whitehall, rather than a local and democratically elected person, then you'll be no fan of PCCs.

    But I can guarantee that if it's up to central government to make these decisions, nobody will care what you think about the matter, and you will have zero opportunity to talk to anyone who has any influence.

    Don't get sidetracked over the idea that PCCs are somehow going to be ordering Chief Constables to go out and arrest people - it's never going to happen.

    But what they will do is to enable people like you to be more engaged with, and involved in, the sort of police service that you pay for. That has to be a good thing, doesn't it?

    1. Hi Dan

      I just want the Clear Guidelines (Rules Goals what ever you might like to call them) set by Central Government in the first instance.

      I would like the Warwickshire Police Commissioner to be able to achieve the Guidelines in the way most suitable for the area.

      My personal feeling rightly or wrongly is that these people need to be Independent of any Political Party or should not be flying a flag on this occasion or be in a position to be called to account by their chosen party.

      I have made my mind up which candidate I am going to vote for and it may well surprise you after all I have said.

      I suppose I am quite simply saying I wish I could judge these people without knowing which party they belonged to.

      In actual fact my choice in this instance actually goes against most my personal political persuasions. I am voting for the person I think will do all of the above not the party he belongs to.

      I actually don’t want to know which parties they belong to I want to know what they are going to do to improve policing in Warwickshire That’s all I am trying to say.