Below you will find the official role of the PCC as defined by the Home Office and legislation. Putting it more simply I consider the key role is to represent you the public of Cumbria in working with the Chief Constable and relevant bodies to ensure that they respond to local community prriorities and to keep our county safe. It isworth pointing out that the PCC has no role in Operational Policing, that is not his/her job but that of the Chief Constable, that is the dividing line between Policing which must be impartial and above Politics, and the representation of the Community which must reflect the views of the public. That said the PCC on taking up the post is required to swear an oath of impartiality. As someone who has loyally served in the military for 34 years, under every shade of government I can assure you that if elected I will swear that oath with integrity and for me, keeping you, your family and our county safe and working together as a team, is much more important and will always come before party politics.
Role of PCC
The Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 specifies that PCCs are there to hold the police to account on behalf of the public. A Home Office briefing document [link] published shortly before the PCC elections in November 2012 described the role in the following terms:
“As a PCC, you will hold the chief constable to account for the performance of their force area’s officers and staff. You will provide the local link between the police and communities, working to turn the desires and ambitions of the public, in terms of policing and crime reduction, into action. You will receive all the funding relating to policing and reducing crime and, after consulting the chief constable, will be responsible for how it is spent. You will set the strategic direction and aims for your force through the Police and Crime Plan (the plan), and set the local precept (council tax charge). You will appoint the chief constable and remove them from office when necessary (as long as the relevant legal requirements are met). You will have wider responsibilities, including responsibility for delivering community safety and reducing crime, the ability to make crime and disorder reduction grants within your force area, and a duty to deliver better value for money or improve the effectiveness of policing”.
Each of the Police and Crime Panels oversees the work of their Police and Crime Commissioner. They are made up of elected local councillors (at least one from each local authority within the force area) plus up to two independent additional appointments [link], up to a total of twenty members. The Panels’ role includes:
- considering the PCC’s police and crime plan and annual report;
- considering the PCC’s proposals for the appointment of a new Chief Constable, with the power to veto their first choice candidate [link];
- reviewing PCC proposals for the police precept, with the power to veto the PCC’s first proposal [link] [link];
- investigating complaints about the PCC [link].
Fire and Rescue Services
The Policing and Crime Act 2017 sets out provisions to enable PCCs to take on responsibility for the governance of local fire and rescue services where a local case is made. It also places a new duty on police, fire and rescue and emergency ambulance services to collaborate where it is in the interests of their efficiency or effectiveness.
In Cumbria, the Fire and Rescue Authority is Cumbria County Council.