Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill

Memorandum submitted by Frank Belgrove (PR 09)

Submission to the Public Bill Committee from Frank Belgrove, relating to the section of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill dealing with the abolition of Police Authorities and their replacement with Police and Crime Commissioners.

1. The Bill in the current form of presentation appears to give

the current powers of a Home Secretary to each Police and Crime Commissioner and this may be a key area of the Bill that should be examined.

2. There does not seem a possibility that Independent representatives (not supported by political parties) can be involved in this new arrangement The very nature of elections in the UK is biased in favour of political party sponsored candidates.

The Home Office Impact Assessment (HO 0021 30/11/2010) in the Strategic Overview section A6 indicated that this is not what the public want – the evidence in this document from the IPSOS MORI poll (May2010) tips the balance in the direction of Independent members.


37% of people feel that independent members of police authorities are the best people to hold the police to account, shortly followed by 34% who think directly elected members are."

3. The public want a representative from their community to call the police to account on their behalf – but they will not get it with this Bill – The new arrangement means that there will only be one Directly Elected Police and Crime Commissioner per Force – Currently in most Force areas 17 members of Police Authorities do this and they struggle to cover the vast County areas. How can one individual accomplish the work of 17?

4. The PCC support panel has a vague role – this needs clarity.

5. Police and Crime Commissioners will have access to sensitive

information as they will work closely with Chief Constables – the propensity for corruption and undermining of the state is a concern in this Bill. The safeguards of MI5 scrutiny of PCCs should be built-in to the Bill.

6. 4 year terms of office and no repeat opportunity to stand again after a second term mean that a re-elected PCC would have no reason to please the electorate by raising standards as there would be no hope of re-election. This defeats the whole object of the Bill.

December 2010