Why are Police & Crime Commissioners (PCCs) being introduced?
Currently the police’s customers (you and me) have insufficient input into how their force is run. The police have a diverse and challenging job that means there can never be enough time for them to understand every concern of Hertfordshire’s communities. If elected as PCC I will spend much of my time talking to you (the residents, businesses and communities of Hertfordshire) to understand your concerns and what you believe the police’s priorities should be.
PCCs will provide transparency over the decisions made by the force and hold the chief constable to account. Importantly PCCs have no input into operational policing decisions. If elected I will work with the police to form the strategic plan for policing. The police will be responsible for implementing that plan in the best way possible.
How is that different from what we’ve currently got?
PCCs are replacing police authorities. Hertfordshire Police Authority has 17 members. Nine of the members are County Councillors, the remaining eight are independent members. None of these people were elected to the police authority, they are largely invisible to their customers (you and me) and there is little, if any, opportunity for us to challenge the decisions they have made.
You will vote for the PCC. You will be able to decide who represents your views on policing to Hertfordshire Constabulary. If I am elected you will be able to tell me your concerns and what you want the police to address.
Why is a PCC better than a police authority?
Under the current structure there are 17 unelected individuals who perform their role on a part-time basis and are largely hidden from the public. With a PCC the public will have chosen their representative based upon the strength of the PCC’s election pledges. The PCC will be highly visible, will listen to their constituents from across Hertfordshire and make sure that the people have an input into policing in Hertfordshire. If voters believe that election pledges have not been met or that they have not been listened to then they can vote the PCC out of office.
But how can one person represent the whole county?
There are two aspects to the new role that are distinct from the old police authority that means the PCC will represent the whole county. First, the job is full-time. Second, the PCC’s remit is to work directly with their communities to understand their concerns about crime and how they would like the police to deal with these concerns. This means that, if I am elected, I will be spending a very large part of my time meeting with people across the entire county, significantly more effort than the current police authority is able to do.
So what exactly will a PCC do?
As described above the PCC’s most important role is to represent their communities and present their concerns to the police. Beyond that the PCC will provide transparency to the public about the police’s actions and hold the chief constable to account for those decisions. The PCC will deliver an annual Police and Crime Plan that, based upon community input, will describe the strategic priorities for tackling crime and determine the precept (the part of your Council Tax bill that is used to pay for policing). Finally, the PCC will work with other local government departments and charities across the county to ensure that those who require support have access to it.
The PCC holds the police to account, who holds the PCC to account?
Each police force will have a police and crime panel (PCP) in place to provide scrutiny and oversight of the PCC’s plans and activities. The PCP also has the right to veto certain decisions made by the PCC such as the appointment of chief constables or the value of the Council Tax precept. The PCP in Hertfordshire will have 12 members; 10 will be elected representatives from each of the county’s local authorities with the final two members will be independent or co-optees.
What makes you different from any of the other candidates?
My main concern about the creation of Police & Crime Commissioners is that it risks politicising policing and removing the independence from political persuasion that the police currently have. My main motivation for standing is that I am apolitical and I do not want Hertfordshire Constabulary’s excellent performance to be put at risk because of the whims of those with political masters. I have no axes to grind nor any favourites to keep sweet. I know what the role requires and I know how I can achieve that. My focus will be to work with the people of Hertfordshire to ensure that they get the best police service possible. I will not be in the pocket of political masters. This view might impact me getting the Conservative Party candidacy. This is a key issue, one that I am passionate about and that is too important to ignore.
I am not a policing novice and have experience of working with a range of police forces (including Hertfordshire). For more details please see the About Me page on this blog.
If you’re “apolitical” why do you want to be the Conservative Party candidate?
I believe that to be effective and utterly impartial the PCC must be autonomous and be able to run their office independently without outside influence. For this to happen the PCC must be apolitical. However, the process to elect a PCC is political by its very nature and this requires political parties to be represented. Without parties being involved I don’t believe that the election will have the necessary public exposure and I don’t believe that sufficiently diverse and able candidates will stand for the role.
But why the Conservative Party?
I have voted for all three of the major parties at local and general elections because I focus on specific issues and how local representatives will address them. I believe that the Conservative Party are developing the best ideas for improving the police service and dealing with local crime issues. More often than not I find myself agreeing with these ideas as they align with my own views. I want to help develop and deliver these ideas to support and improve the excellent work of Hertfordshire Constabulary.