Why we have a Police and Crime Commissioner
In September 2011 the Government passed the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act. The Act included legislation that replaced Police Authorities with directly elected Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs). On Thursday 15 November 2012 the people of Suffolk went to the polls to vote for one person to oversee policing, a Police and Crime Commissioner for Suffolk. The PCC took office on 22 November 2012.
This has meant a significant shift in power from 17 members of the Suffolk Police Authority to one person who will represent the whole policing area. The Government's decision to introduce PCCs is to improve the democratic accountability of the police service to the public by enabling local people to vote for a PCC.
Read the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 online.
The role of the Police and Crime Commissioner
The Government has said that the majority of the work of the PCC will be decided at a very local level, and the legislation sets out very few statutory requirements.
The Act states:
The police and crime commissioner for a police area must secure the maintenance of the police force for that area, and secure that the police force is efficient and effective.
Some of the Police and Crime Commissioner's roles and responsibilities include:
- Appoint the Chief Constable: Although the PCC will have the sole responsibility for hiring or firing the Chief Constable, the Suffolk Police and Crime Panel has the authority to veto the appointment of a Chief Constable.
- Hold the Chief Constable to account.
- Production of a Police and Crime Plan
- Attendance at the Police and Crime Panel
- Setting of the Council Tax precept and annual budget for policing in Suffolk. The Police and Crime Panel has the authority to veto the proposed precept
- Membership of key forums: The PCC is expected to play a role in wider community safety issues beyond policing and will be the budget holder for community safety grants
- Direct engagement with the public
- Regional/ National responsibilities: In order to ensure that the PCC takes into account national policing requirements such as Counter Terrorism, cross-border policing and large scale public disorder, a Strategic Policing Requirement (SPR) will be dictated from the Home Secretary
- Publishing an annual report
- Collaborating for an efficient and effective Criminal Justice System with partners such as the Youth Offending Team, Crown Prosecution Service and Prison Service etc.
Further information can be found by visiting the Police and Crime Commissioners section on the Home Office Website.