Amobi Modu, Head of Community Safety Unit, Home Office
Miranda Carruthers-Watt, Chief Executive, Lancashire Police Authority; Vice Chair, APACE
In order to ‘ensure policing for the people’, the Government introduced the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act, which gained Royal Assent in September 2011. The new Act will lead to significant changes in the governance and accountability of the police service. The replacement of police authorities with directly elected Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) aims to radically shift power and control away from Government back to people and communities. With the anticipation that the public will have a voice in setting police priorities as well as the power to hold the police to account for keeping our streets safe and secure, the first elections are due to take place in November 2012.
With the exception of London, police authorities will be abolished in 41 regions and a single Commissioner will be directly elected for each area in England and Wales. The expected costs of elections, transition cost and salaries of 41 new officials could be over £125 million as stated in the Police and Crime Commissioners Impact Assessment (March 2011), which the Government anticipates will be equivalent to the current governance arrangements. The transition poses a challenge as only a minority of the population are aware that elections for the Commissioners will take place in November. Furthermore, the Association of Electoral Administrators have suggested that the rules governing the election, candidates and expenses are yet to be approved and published with 6 months being the standard preparation time.
A key feature of the new framework includes the introduction of new Police and Crime Panels to provide important scrutiny of Police and Crime Commissioners’ functions and a system of checks and balances to scrutinise PCCs. In January 2012, Metropolitan Police Authority was replaced by the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime, but its role in holding London’s police to account will pass to a Police and Crime Panel drawn from London Assembly Members.
As we embark on a crucial year for the policing and justice sector with the elections less than 9 months away, the process to ‘forge a direct link between the police and the public’ has been set in motion. This special symposium offers practitioners and key stakeholders a timely opportunity to explore the future role of elected Police and Crime Commissioners and the challenges that lie ahead in the transition process.
- Examine the Government’s policy to transform policing in the UK and the role of police authorities in supporting this transition process
- Understand the extent to which democratic accountability can be strengthened and how elected PCCs and Chief Constables will be scrutinised
- Gain an insight into setting up a Police and Crime Panel and discuss how to improve multi-agency working in order to maintain transparency
- Raise awareness of the impending changes to the policing structure and ensure the public have a voice in setting police priorities
For programme details and to reserve your place, please visit the Public Policy Exchange website.