Time to get rid of Police & Crime Commissioners

A couple of weeks ago I went to a meeting involving Merseyside’s P&CC Jane Kennedy. The meeting itself is not what this piece is about but an odd, almost throwaway remark, she made during it struck a chord with me. I can’t quote Jane directly but she said words to the effect that ‘if the PCC continue to exist’. Clearly she doubts that they will and let’s face it there have been a number a scandals involving P&CC’s across England – not involving Jane I would add.

The Sunday Times recently quoted shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper saying that a future Labour government would abolish police and crime commissioners and instead give local people a say in appointing a police commander. Such a move, we are told, would save at least £50m, which could be spent on frontline policing.

I am not sure what Ms Cooper means by her bland statement ‘giving local people a say in appointing a police commander’ as this could mean a number of different things but she is right to conclude that the P&CC have been a bad move.

The Tories saw them as being able to make a step change in the way local policing is managed and yet many of us non-Tories just could not see how this change would deliver such an objective. Sadly, we have since seen that the Tories plan was flawed and more P&CC’s than anyone can feel comfortable with have got into trouble or scandal. What’s more virtually no one voted in the P&CC elections showing that whatever the Tories saw as a big crime and policing game changer never gained the hearts and minds of the voters.

This was a wheel that did not need to be reinvented and it strikes me as one of those manifesto policies, of the needless change variety, that political parties dream up to try to show how distinctive they are from the other parties. Whosoever dream it was must have been having a bad dream!