Local MP Jack Lopresti says he welcomes the “huge interest” shown by Conservative and other candidates in the new Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) posts which are due be elected in November this year.
The Filton and Bradley Stoke MP has been given the task of finding potential Tory nominees for the roles, which critics say risks politicising the police force.
Advocates of the plan to introduce PCCs say they will herald a new era of policing when the power to hold the police to account is put in the hands of directly-elected representatives, replacing the current system of indirectly-elected Police Authorities.
Local democratic accountability will replace Whitehall-led bureaucratic accountability and PCCs will have mandates from the public to drive the fight against crime and anti-social behaviour, it is claimed.
PCCs will have specific responsibility to:
- Work with the communities in their force area and identify their specific local policing needs
- Set priorities by agreeing a local strategic plan for the force
- Hold the Chief Constable to account for achieving these priorities
- Set the force budget and the policing precept in Council Tax bills
- Appoint – and, if necessary, remove – the Chief Constable
Many high profile potential candidates, including Falklands War veteran Simon Weston, former army commander Col. Tim Collins and former Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott, have already put their names forward.
PCCs in England and Wales will be rewarded with a salary between £65k and £100k, with the Avon and Somerset position attracting remuneration of £85k.
Mr Lopresti said:
“Police and Crime Commissioners are at the heart of the Government’s programme to reform the police to help them fight crime. PCCs will have real power to ensure the police are really accountable to the local people they serve.”
“With nine months still to go till these elections, we have already had hundreds of expressions of interest from a diverse range of candidates.”
“As more and more candidates register, I look forward to an exciting election this November and working with the new PCC for Avon and Somerset in the future.”
Residents will go to the polls to elect the first Police and Crime Commissioner for the Avon and Somerset police force area on Thursday 15th November 2012.
- Police and Crime Commissioners (Home Office)
- Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner
- Can politics and policing work together? (BBC)
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