Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill

Memorandum submitted by Saint Blaise Town Council (PR 105)

We are extremely concerned about the current bill being considered, to Devon and Cornwall Police this would mean a reduction of £50 million over four years more than a third of which must be found in the first year. Why introduce a new system of police governance to commence right in the middle of the period when these cuts will bite the deepest.

There is the cost of staging PCC elections, money that should be going into frontline policing not police governance reorganisation. Police Authorities currently have a small number of staff, it is likely that the workforce required by a PCC will be greater.

The South West is a vast area covered by Devon and Cornwall Police, the largest area in England, spreading from the Isles of Scilly to the Dorset and Somerset borders. It will be the responsibility of the PCC to both collect and represent the views of all the people living within the Force area, we don’t believe this will be possible for a lone person. Current arrangements allow for 19 Policy Authority Members.

We believe that PCC’s are likely to stand on single issues tickets, ones that are seen to appeal to the broadest range of the electorate and ignore areas that go largely unforeseen. The advantage of the current police governance model is that the Police Authority Members bring a balance to decision making. We do not believe that the current bill will bring about improvements but will increase costs of police governance and accountability when money should be directed at operational policing.

February 2011