The Government announces the strengthening of the role of the Police and Crime Commissioner
The Government is set to strengthen the role of Police and Crime Commissioners including the possible transfer of governance of fire and rescue services over to PCCs, it was announced today.
The move is part of a package of changes announced today by the Home Office after an eight-month review of the role of PCCs.
The review – the first part in a two-part appraisal – concluded there was strong support for the Government’s ambition to increase the accountability of Fire and Rescue services by having a directly elected official take on governance of the services.
As a result the Home Office will consult publicly on whether to mandate the transfer of Fire and Rescue authority functions to PCCs in England.
The initial recommendations will enhance the role of the PCC by:
- Changing the PCC voting system to first-past-the-post, so the public can vote out those who are failing to deliver. This will create stronger and clearer local accountability, and reflect that transferable voting systems were rejected by the British people in the 2011 nationwide referendum.
- Making sure PCCs provide the public with clear information on their force’s performance.
- Mandating the appointment of deputy PCCs to ensure continuity in unforeseen circumstances.
- Making changes to ensure more effective and consistent relationships between PCCs and Chief Constables.
PCC Marc Jones said: “The role of PCCs already ensures that the voice of local residents is heard when crucial decisions on how our communities are served both locally and nationally.
“I welcome any changes to the PCC role that strengthen public accountability, simplify elections and ensure that local communities are at the centre of decision making which in turn keeps those communities safe.”
Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “Police and Crime Commissioners play a crucial role as the elected voice of the people for crime and policing, which is why I am committed to ensuring they are accountable to the communities they serve and are strong, visible leaders in the fight against crime.
“These recommendations, once implemented, will strengthen and potentially extend the role of PCCs and help them deliver the safer streets that the British public deserve.”
The Review’s findings also confirmed our desire to see more combined authority mayors with PCC and Fire & Rescue authority functions, and the Government will set out its approach to achieving this longer-term aim in the Devolution and Local Recovery White Paper in due course.
The second part of the Review will take place after the May 2021 elections and the government will communicate more about these plans in due course.