Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Police Commissioners, what will they mean?

The first ever elections for Police and Crime Commissioners will be held on 15 November 2012. Some of you may have heard me on BBC Radio on Friday morning discussing the change this will bring to our police.

Instead of bureaucratic control of the police the Commissioners we bring real democratic accountability to our policing with you the public having a real say over how our area is policed.

Police Commissioners will be local figures with powerful mandates from the public to drive the fight against crime and anti-social behaviour. Commissioners will decide policing strategy and the force budget. They will set the local council tax precept and appoint - and if necessary dismiss - the chief constable. And all of this will be done on behalf of the public who elect them.

Police and Crime Commissioners will replace the existing police authorities and have a much larger role.

Working with local authorities, community safety partnerships and local criminal justice boards, Commissioners will help bring a strategic coherence to the actions of these organisations across each police force. Commissioners will be a single elected individual who will take executive decisions, supported by a highly qualified team. For the first time you the public will have someone in the room, at the very top of table who shares your priorities.

The buck will stop with commissioners, and the public will cast judgement at the ballot box, voting out commissioners who don't cut crime or address local concerns.

I hope we will end up with a real leader at the helm of Northumbria Police to continue to drive forward the improvements the force has made in cutting crime and cracking down on anti social behaviour.