“The ‘X’ and ‘Y’ Factors of the PCC” – by Vanda Inman -
The Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 received Royal Assent on 15th September 2011 but delayed elections until November 2012.
What does it mean?
The “Police and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire” (PCC) will directly replace North Yorkshire Police Authority from 22nd November 2012.
What is the PCC’s role?
PCCs will appoint the Chief Constable; who will appoint all other officers within the force.
PCCs will determine local policing priorities, set a local precept (council tax element) and set the annual force budget in consultation with the Chief Constable.
The PCC will commission policing services via the Chief Constable.
As well as Police Governance the role will cover wider community safety issues with a duty to cooperate with Criminal Justice Agencies.
Produce an Annual Report
Consult and involve the public
PCCs will be the Voice of the People
SALARY £ 70,000p.a., plus allowances and pension.
So far, no candidate has come forward. Wonder why? Lets take a closer look at the Job description;
The first role of the PCC is to set the police precept and budget, securing the maintenance of the police force for North Yorkshire and the City of York both effectively and efficiently. Internally, the PCC will determine how crime-fighting resources are allocated and spent in a way that best serves their electorate and public interest. Driving value for money, cost savings, reduced bureaucracy and protection of frontline services. Externally, discretionary funding of all money centrally allocated to community safety and crime reduction and Crime and Disorder reduction Grants. Of local significance, the PCC can use their budgets to commission services from public, private and voluntary sectors. FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY.
Secondly, to produce a 5 year Police and Crime Plan. STRATEGIC DIRECTION.
Must hold the Chief Constable to account. The Chief Constable will be required to provide any reports as requested by the PCC on policing matters – the PCC may arrange for these reports to be made public, improving democratic accountability. Information published by PCC must allow residents to assess and have access to the performance of both the PCC and the Chief Constable. PUBLIC RELATIONS.
The PCC will work closely with local community safety partners.
Take responsibility for Victim Services and have a victim strategy.
The PCC must make arrangements for the view of the people in their area about matters concerning the policing of the area. Their co-operation with the police in preventing crime – obtaining the views of victims of crime ‘invoking the voice of the public, the vulnerable and victims’ ensuring that public priorities are acted upon.
Finally, last but not least, the PCC will and must co-operate with criminal justice agencies to achieve an efficient and effective Criminal Justice System, with due regard to the relevant priorities of responsible authorities.
In short the PCC will be a ‘filter’ or interface between the Police and the Public. He/she must be strong enough to withstand internal and external pressures concerning policing, crime and justice.
The PCC will not have any involvement in Police Operations.
Full job description: PCCInfo@nypa.gov.uk
CHECKS AND BALANCES – who will hold our elected PCC to account?
The Act also introduces a Police and Crime Panel (PCP)made up of a minimum of ten local authority members – one from each district of NYCC, one from each authority and two from the City of York. (It’s the first time district authorities will have a role to play). More interestingly, perhaps, are the TWO additional CO-OPTED independent members.
The role of the Police and Crime Panel (PCP) is there to support the PCC in reducing crime and disorder BUT they are also there to scrutinise the key decisions of the PCC.
However, PCPs are not police authorities and cannot hold the force to account. But they can hold the PCC to account. The PCP can veto by 2/3 the police precept and appointment of the Chief Constable, and they can suspend the PCC if charged with a criminal offence that carries more than a year’s sentence.
Applications now being take for the two co-opted members at www.nypartnerships.org.uk, deadline: 1st June 2012.
So on a local level how does this affect our Community ?
Well, let’s take a look at the Safer Communities Partnership. From April 2013, all Community Safety Funding will be held by the Police and Crime Commissioner.
In 2010/11 grants for the Safer Communities Partnership amounted to £ 181,345, the year 2011/12 saw the grants cut to £ 108,448 with extra funding for Street Safe and Night Marshals. The 2012/13 precept of £ 64,077 plus Street Safe and Night Marshals further reduced, and by 2013/14 the grant funding/precept is Nil. That is, NO Street Safe and NO Community Safety funding. From there on in (April 2014), all this Community Safety funding will be controlled by the PCC at his discretion. Does this mean the PCC will ask the public what areas of Community Safety need funding? How will and what will be the public’s response? And what of the Alcohol related initiatives, Street Angels and Night Marshals? Whilst these anti-social crimes are highly visible and can engage the public and raise awareness, it is recognised that many crimes are hidden, eg domestic abuse, and the public may not be responsive to engage in such safety initiatives.
Clearly, the role of the PCC is challenging, demanding financial responsibility, strategic direction and a broad experience of community safety issues and crime prevention. And, most importantly, of course the selection is a contest by public election. The most experienced electioneers being politicians and political groups.
Should policing be political? ‘X’ or ‘Y’?
Should community policing become privately or business funded? ‘X’ or ‘Y’?
Should policing meet with the consent of the people? ‘X’ or ‘Y’?
More importantly, who has the ‘X’ or ‘Y’ factor?
Meanwhile join the Police and Crime Panel (PCP) at: www.nypartnerships.org.uk deadline: 1st June 2012.