THE DUST has now settled from last week’s election for our new Police and Crime Commissioner and we shall have to wait to see what changes/improvements, if any, occur because of this shake-up.
The low turnout, locally and nationally, would suggest that most people (myself included), were underwhelmed by the government’s notion of of local accountability and wondered why it was desirable or indeed necessary. We are supposed to be short of money.
Under the old system we had police authorities composed of nine local councillors and eight independent members who had to apply for their positions. At the top was a chairman.
Now we have a police and crime panel to be composed of ten local councillors and two co-opted independent members.
They will elect a chairman and one of their roles will be to hold the police commissioner to account.
So there are two main differences. Firstly we have gained an extra layer of bureaucracy.
The commissioner has to appoint a chief executive officer and a chief finance officer.
In addition, he may also appoint a deputy if the local policing panel agree.
Offices will be needed and admin staff taken on. This all costs money.
Perhaps of even more concern is that we shall lose the impact of several independent members. Their number is reduced under the arrangements.
So maybe the fears of those who spoiled their ballot papers may turn out to be well-founded.
The police are indeed becoming politicised.