Why I think an elected Police Commissioner will be good for Medway and Kent

November the 15th 2012 will be an exciting turning point in the history of the Police Service.

For the first time, residents across Kent and Medway will be asked to elect a Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) to represent our interests.

These directly elected Commissioners will ensure that public concerns are reflected in local policing priorities.

This is not to suggest that Police in Kent and Medway have ignored the concerns of public – in fact they have been effective at responding to their needs – but having a recognisable directly elected Commissioner will empower the public and increase local accountability. They will be the driving force for our local priorities.

Instead of the current invisible Police Authority (research has shown that only 7% of people have even heard of them) an elected and mandated Commissioner will set goals and priorities for our Police Force according to the wishes of the public – a public they will be accountable for at the polling station.

This does not mean that the operational independence of the police will change. The Police are there to protect the public and should not have political affiliation to any party and these changes will not “politicise the Police” as some have suggested.

Chief Constables will actually have greater professional freedom to take operational decisions to meet the priorities set for them by their local community – via their Commissioner. This will include being able to appoint all of their top management team.

Some have raised the issue of costs, but Police Authorities (which will be abolished) cost the taxpayer £65 million per year and have spent £25 million on expenses and allowances in the last three years.

This is something which will be good for Medway and the rest of Kent.

The extended version, which appeared in the Kent on Sunday, can be found here.

4 Responses to “Why I think an elected Police Commissioner will be good for Medway and Kent”

  1. Nick Anderson (@UKPestPro) Says:

    Mike,
    I’m all for an Independent person to oversee the Police.
    It can only be for good if they have no allegiance to the Police.
    Complain about the Police is one sided and it feels that they look after their own.
    The Police used to police by consent of its citizens old Police Act, expect that wording has gone though.
    So an independent might reinforce who they serve.
    Having served on a Police Committee in the past I know the good they do, but I also experienced the “power” bit as well.
    Lets’ not forget the FCC grossly over budget.
    Today 4 police cars, numerous officers, 1 private car being searched,1 individual being questioned.
    Over use of people & equipment?
    You decide.
    But let the Police be judged by others, not their own comrades.

  2. Birmingham and Beyond - This is not politicising the police Says:

    […] currently the only Medway Council Cabinet Member to embrace the new media art of blogging, has penned a strong argument in support of elected Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) to replace […]

  3. Robert Howe Says:

    Mike – you make a lot of sense. On the whole, the Kent Police Authority and its Chairman have done a reasonable job, but the appointment of a directly elected PCC introduces a democratic and clearly understood line of accountability, as well as saving money, The Public will know where the buck stops and they will be in a position to do something about it (I only wish that Medway had opted for an elected Mayor). The one thing that deeply concerns me is that someone (I cannot remember who) announced recently that he wants to be the Conservative candidate for PCC. it would have been just as worrying if he had said Labour, Lib-Dem or UKIP). This immediately politicises the Office and destroys any notion of the Commisioner being independent. In which case, we would be better off with the status quo.

  4. johnwardmedwayJohn M Ward Says:

    I have high hopes for this initiative, having had issues with the police in the past that could probably have been resolved by an elected Commissioner.

    From what I continue to be told by my “eyes and ears” around the patch, it seems that there still are problems with the police being too keen on (as a previous commenter has put it) “looking after their own”. There is a public perception that this is so, and the only way I can see that being dealt with effectively is with (and by) an elected Commissioner.

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