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Russell Webster

Russell Webster

Criminal Justice & substance misuse expert and author of this blog.

Police & Crime Commissioners – The First Year

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Policy Exchange recently held a 1st birthday party for PCCs hosted by Theresa May. Here's what I learnt...

Happy Birthday PCCs

[mks_dropcap style=”squared”]I[/mks_dropcap] attended a Policy Exchange event on Police and Crime Commissioners last week (7 November 2013) to celebrate PCCs’ first anniversary. The keynote speaker was Home Secretary Theresa May who, while not ignoring the many peccadilloes of the first generation of Police Commissioners, was nonetheless extremely positive about their worth.

The main point in her argument was that many more people had heard of PCCs than their Police Authority predecessors and that it was right that the police were locally accountable rather than being merely directed by Home Office dictates. While many commentators wonder openly about whether PCCs will be around to contest a second election, Ms May was much more positive. In addition to stating that she was receptive to the idea that PCCs should be given more powers, she also stated that the government is already considering further merger of the emergency services under the leadership of Police and Crime Commissioners. She also seem prepared to consider Policy Exchange’s suggestion that there should be locally elected Commissioners for Health and Education too.

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The collection of essays

[mks_dropcap style=”squared”]P[/mks_dropcap]olicy Exchange celebrated the PCCs’ birthday byPx pioneers publishing a collection of essays. Eleven PCCs have contributed to the document whose forward was written by the Home Secretary herself. The contributions are organised under four themes:

  • Doing more with less
  • Cutting crime
  • Delivering to victims and the public
  • The future for PCCs

Here’s ten things I learnt from reading the collection:

  1. Adam Simmonds Northamptonshire’s PCC, is setting up a new Crime and Justice Institute within a local University to bring together “cutting-edge academic research alongside practical translation of research evidence into practice”.
  2. Greater Manchester Police and the office of PCC Tony Lloyd will be “Leveson-compliant” and will declare all gifts and hospitality.
  3. North Yorkshire’s Chief Constable has copied PCC Julia Mulligan into the daily email which covers notable crimes & incidents and performance for the previous 24 hours.
  4. Several PCCs are increasingly concerned about the large percentage of police time which goes on dealing with people with mental health problems.
  5. Alun Michael, PCC for South Wales, has adopted a public health approach to reducing crime.
  6. As well as talking about the need for a better service for victims, Dorset PCC Martyn Underhill is investing heavily in a Victim’s Bureau based in a non-police building.
  7. Ann Barnes, Kent PCC, describes the job as “one position, many roles – public advocate, communicator, bridge builder and Force Champion”.
  8. Being PCC enabled Vera Baird to lead a new initiative to tackle violence against women in Northumbria.
  9. Olly Martins, PCC for Bedfordshire, has led a so-far unsuccessful campaign (supported by 26 other PCCs) to try to get the MoJ to give PCCs more say over how electronic tagging is commissioned and delivered locally.
  10. Stephen Greenhalgh, PCC for London – technically the Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime – unsurprisingly echoes Boris Johnson’s recent plea for the Mayor of London to have control over local probation and prisons, as well as the police.

 

 

 

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