Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill

Memorandum submitted by County Councillor Mark Wilkes (PR 42)

I am writing with regards to proposals for Directly Elected Police commissioners.

I have grave concerns about the politicisation of the police and the potential costs of additional elections, particularly in light of the current austere times we find ourselves in.

I find the current status quo in County Durham to work extremely well, for a very low cost compared to the new proposals. I would also urge members of the Scrutiny Committee to look closely at how successful Durham Police have been in communicating with local residents through PACT meetings and attendance at community and parish council meetings to name but a few positive actions. It works really well.

I would urge all those MPs involved to reconsider the proposals and at the very least allow local people to decide if they want PCCs or want to retain the status quo or some other option, thus ensuring truely local decision making. The top down proposal of PCCs will politicise the police, cost more money and create more work at a time when budgets are tight. It could result in extremist views gaining greater influence damaging community cohesion.

If something isn't broke, there is no point in trying to fix it.

January 2011