- Security TWENTY
- Women in Security
November 15 is the day of the vote for the people to oversee the police, instead of police authorities: police and crime commissioners (PCC). Elections will be in England and Wales, excluding London.
In the October issue of Professional Security, we ran an interview with an independent candidate for West Midlands, former senior police officer Cath Hannon. For more about her visit http://www.choosemypcc.org.uk/candidates/cath-hannon/
On that website you can find the candidates standing for election in your area: http://www.choosemypcc.org.uk
The Association of Chief Police Officers published a document which offers an brief overview of the UK police. According to ACPO the 14 page document, titled Policing in the UK: A Brief Guide aims to provide an starting point for public, partners and PCC candidates looking to inform themselves about today’s policing.
ACPO lead, Chief Constable Alex Marshall said: “This document aims to provide some basic information about how the police service operates in the United Kingdom. It deals with local and national issues and aims to provide readers with an understanding of the founding principles of our police service, alongside the issues, structures and challenges faced by forces at a time of major change and opportunity for policing.”
Published ahead of the elections for Police and Crime Commissioners this November 15, the document provides a reference point on policing; adding a national perspective to local documents already published by some police forces.
The document also takes a look at other bodies or partners that are involved in the UK policing world including Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, the Independent Police Complaints Commission and the National Crime Agency.
To view the document, log on to:
Deloitte, the audit firm, warns that newly-elected PCCs will face a “relentless” focus on financial management and cutting costs.
PCCs will take office with police budgets set to decline by 20 per cent by 2014-15, the Winsor Review recommending annual pay and allowance savings of £163m, Government aiming to save 4.5 million hours in police time by cutting ‘red tape’ and £1 in every £7 of police budgets being spent on pensions.
James Taylor, partner for policing at Deloitte, said: “PCCs will take charge with police forces undergoing massive upheaval and there will be a relentless focus on finances and cuts. Whatever party or candidate wins, the PCC will need to hit the ground running and be prepared to begin taking tough decisions from day one.
“Police forces are large and complex organisations, employing hundreds of people, covering hundreds of square miles and spending an average of £200 million a year, over £500 million for larger forces. The incoming PCC will need to get to grips with the financial position of the force.
“The PCC will urgently need to agree with the force what level of access they will have to financial information and what the budget sign off process will be. They will have to review current income and expenditure, understand existing contracts, even down to how they manage property and IT, and look at where they can share services with other organisations. By March 2013 the PCC will have to have finalised the police and crime plan, a complex five year document that requires a firm understanding of local needs so time will be of the essence.
“This is all in addition to getting an office and protocols set up, getting up to speed on current police operations, planning how to deliver their manifesto commitments and balancing the rush of interest from the local communities, politicians and media all vying for their attention. This isn’t just a challenge, it is an opportunity to change the way public services work. The PCC can be a focal point to help them come together and tackle shared problems.”
Cheshire residents will have their chance to quiz the Cheshire Police Crime Commissioner candidates at a hustings at the University of Chester.
Organised by the University of Chester Debating Society – part of Chester Students’ Union – the event is the only one of its kind taking place in Cheshire ahead of national elections next month, and involves all five candidates for the position.
Police and Crime Commissioners are a new idea for England and Wales and the first incumbents will take their posts in November of this year.
Speaking at the hustings, which take place in the Main Lecture Theatre at the University’s Riverside Campus on Thursday, October 25, will be:
Ainsley Arnold (Liberal Democrats)
Louise Bours (UK Independence Party)
John Dwyer (Conservative)
Sarah Flannery (Independent)
John Stockton (Labour).
Police and Crime Commissioners are elected representatives whose aim is to secure the maintenance of an efficient and effective police force within their area and to hold the Chief Constable to account.
Matthew Lambert, the Society’s Chairman, said: “This is the first election of its kind in the England and Wales, and this is your opportunity to hear from the candidates and to determine who deserves your vote on November 15.” Members of the public are welcome to attend the hustings, which starts at 7pm.
UNISON, the trade union that includes police civilian staff, was calling on Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) candidates to ‘come clean’ on their position on police privatisation, ahead of the publication of candidate statements. The union said that it is writing to all candidates across England and Wales to get their views on privatisation and out-sourcing, police cuts and their support for PCSOs on record. How candidates respond to these questions will influence how members, their families and the wider public will vote on November 15.
The union is warning the candidates that privatisation of vital police services is it claims, deeply unpopular with the public. According to a recent UNISON survey more than 60 per cent of the public do not want their local police services to be sold off to private companies.
Ben Priestley, UNISON national officer for police staff said: “We know that police privatisation is going to be a toxic issue for candidates in the PCC elections, but we will not allow the candidates to hide their views on these important issues to win votes.
“Candidates must come clean on their intentions for the privatisation and outsourcing of policing staff, how they will manage the government’s proposed 20 per cent cuts to budgets, and whether they will continue to fund PCSOs. Without this, the public will not be able to make an informed decision in November’s elections.
“These elections will have particular importance in those forces that are considering selling off their police services to the private sector, and the public in these areas must know what they are really voting for.”
Police staff according to the union make up 40pc of the policing workforce, working in forensics, scenes of crime, as PCSOs and in 999 call handling. They are says Unison at particular risk of outsourcing to private companies. The union has already raised concerns that the creep of privatisation will lead to fragmentation, a race-to-the-bottom in terms of service quality and undermining public trust and confidence in the police.
You can view the questions at: www.unison.org.uk/policeandjustice/pages_view.asp?did=14857
Avon and Somerset, Cleveland and Lincolnshire Police have already gone out to contract for some back office services. Other police forces are considering similar privatisation, which will need to be decided by the elected Police and Crime Commissioners.