Police and Crime Commissioners: Who are we voting for?
The Police Reform and Social Responsibility (PRSR) Act 2011 was brought about to put a Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) within each force area in England and Wales outside of London.
Elected by the public, PCCs provide the link between police and communities whilst working in partnership across a range of local and national level agencies to secure a collaborative approach to preventing and reducing crime.
PCCs were elected for the second time on the 5th May 2016 to represent 40 different force areas across England and Wales, excluding Greater Manchester and London, where the responsibility of the PCC role is incorporated into the mayor’s job role. The PCCs main duties are to become the voice of the people, be responsible for total policing, reduce crime, guarantee to make the police answerable to the communities in which they serve in and ensure the community needs of inhabitants are met as effectively as possible.
The registration in relation to the turnout figures for the May 2016 elections was noticeably lower. Almost 33.7m people were registered to vote in the May 2016 Police and Crime Commissioner elections: 31.4m in England and 2.25m in Wales. The overall turnout at the May 2016 PCC elections was just 27.3% but over 61% of postal votes were issued and returned. According to The May 2016 Police and Crime Commissioner Elections report: ‘The majority of respondents to our research said that they did not have enough information to understand the role of the PCC in order to make an informed decision about the elections,’ suggesting that if the public were better informed, the results turn out may have increased.
Looking towards the future, the next scheduled PCC elections will be held in May 2020 on the same day as the local government elections in England. The Electoral Commission, an independent body which reports directly to the UK Parliament, express that the ‘potential combination of polls presents significant risks which need to be mitigated in order to give votes, campaigners and Returning Officers confidence that the elections can be well-run.’
The Policing Vision 2025 report has been drafted jointly by PCCs and chief constables setting out how the police service needs to adapt by 2025 from building on the progress made since the publication of the 2011-2016 vision. The Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC), a national body that assists PCCs have stated in the report that, ‘PCCs continue to play an important role in conveying and building effective working relationships between the police service, central government, criminal justice and community safety partners.’
On the 19th September 2018, Katy Bourne, Police and Crime Commissioner for Surrey and Sussex Police and Chair of the Police ICT Company, will present on solutions to deliver swift, fair and efficient justice at the annual Criminal Justice Management Conference. To be involved in the conversation, secure your place to attend here – www.cjm-conference.co.uk/registration
This article is published in ModernGov Magazine, an official media partner of the Criminal Justice Management Conference 2018. Turn to the Justice & Defence section on p.86 (www.moderngov.govnet.co.uk) for key updates within the sector.