Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill

Memorandum submitted by the Hampshire Neighbourhood Watch Association (PR 63)

The Hampshire Neighbourhood Watch Association, operating in the Counties of Hampshire and Isle of Wight, represents nearly 5000 volunteers who collectively cover 152.000 households in the County. As chairman of the Association I am advising you that we see the proposed change from the present way of formation of our Police Authority through councillors and civillians, to a single Commissioner as a detrimental step.

 How could a population of some 1.9 people ever be expected to know which person to elect as the correct person to represent all the needs of the whole county? How could one man be responsible for a potential budget of £300 million and not be subject to political interference.

 Right now councillors of various areas make up the Police Authority and they are fully versed with the needs of the diverse areas. Countryside, villages, suburbs and Towns. No single person could ever be expected to have that knowledge. Would the new Commissioner need a staff, probably comprising the same amount of people or even greater? With each election process requiring a costburden of around £1.2 million at a time of severe financial constraint, this proposed unnecessary change would only excacerbate present burdens on the public purse. 

 The previous Government tried to tamper with the system but in the end dropped their plans as, then as now, there was great opposition to their plans. As an Association, working closely with the Constabulary and the Police Authority, we could not ask for a better, open system of Police Regulation. It works extremely well, is cost effective and therefor we strongly object to any tampering with the present system of the formation of our Police Authority.

 We strongly urge you to remove this part of the proposed Bill.

January 2011