Police and Crime Commissioners: progress to date - Home Affairs Committee Contents


2  The work of commissioners to date

14. Many of the police and crime commissioners hit the ground running when they took office in 2012, though some have faced trips and hurdles during the intervening period. In this Chapter we look at aspects of commissioners' work during the last 18 months, including their efforts to promote collaborative working and transparency, as well as their response to recent concern over the reliability of police-recorded crime statistics. We also examine the practice by many commissioners of appointing assistants and deputies to carry out work on their behalf.

Collaborative working

15. One PCC described partnership working as "perhaps the most exciting frontier for commissioners to explore", noting that they are in a unique position to bring partner agencies together in the public interest.[29] Another stated that the role of PCC has "enormous potential to act as an 'honest broker' […] to bring disparate services together towards common goals and outcomes".[30] Whilst the former police authorities had tried to encourage more collaborative working, the PCC for Thames Valley, for example, argued that commissioners were better placed than committees to achieve this.[31] Many commissioners described how efforts in this respect had been redoubled since their taking office. This has, in part, been driven by statutory requirement. Section 10 of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 placed a new duty on PCCs and chief constables to collaborate where it is in the interests of efficiency and effectiveness. In addition, chief constables are under a duty to have regard to the Strategic Policing Requirement, which sets out in statute the need for collective capabilities to meet national threats.[32]

16. Notwithstanding the statutory requirements placed on commissioners and chief constables, they also face a financial incentive to collaborate as police forces have been required to make large budgetary savings in recent years, and will continue to need to do so. Although police forces have still needed to reduce staff levels in response to financial constraints, most commissioners recognise the value of collaboration, both as a means of promoting efficiency, but also helping to deliver a better service to the communities they serve.[33] To encourage their efforts, the Home Office has established the Police Innovation Fund, which will allocate £50 million in 2014-15 for investment in "innovative approaches with the potential to improve policing and deliver further efficiencies in the future".[34]

17. We heard evidence on a range of different forms of collaborative working. First, many commissioners were working on partnering with other blue light services, namely fire authorities and ambulance trusts. For some, progress in this respect was limited to initial discussions—as the PCC for Cambridgeshire told us: "it is a twinkle in the eye, but I am convinced we are going to deliver".[35] Others, however, have made significant progress. The Minister, for example, highlighted the co-location of a police and fire station in Northamptonshire, which had enabled the sale of a vacated building and closer working between the two services.[36] Elsewhere, the Surrey PCC is leading a collaboration programme between the police force, fire authority and ambulance trust to find ways of streamlining operations, sharing more premises, and delivering joint safety campaigns.[37]

18. A second form of collaboration has been between police forces and local authorities. For example, in Hampshire the police force, fire service and county council are joining up corporate services with the aim of making savings of £4 million per annum.[38] The PCC in Avon and Somerset is also developing integrated business support services with local authorities within her police force area.[39] A third area of collaboration has been between commissioners and universities. Again, the Northamptonshire PCC has set an example by working with a local university to establish a 'Police, Crime and Justice Institute', which brings together research activity with the aim of translating it into practical policy. Elsewhere, the South Wales PCC has provided £1.2 million of funding over five years for the Universities Police Science Institute, which is a partnership between Cardiff University's Violence and Society Research Group and South Wales Police. This collaborative work is looking at issues including community engagement, neighbourhood policing, and countering violent extremism.[40]

19. Another area in which partnership working is developing is on mental health. In different ways, the Greater Manchester, Staffordshire, and Avon and Somerset PCCs are all working to improve the way the police respond to people with mental health problems. They are achieving this through collaboration with the NHS as well as social care workers and the voluntary sector. For example, the Avon and Somerset PCC aims to reduce the number of people detained in police cells under the Mental Health Act from 646 in 2012-13 to zero in 2014.[41] This is an issue on which we expect to produce a report later in 2014.

20. However, the main way in which collaboration is taking place is between police forces themselves. It is happening both along non-geographical lines, for instance between Cheshire and Northamptonshire in respect of back office support functions, but also between groups of neighbouring police forces.[42] The PCCs and chief constables of Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire have recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding to collaborate on a range of areas, including finance, estates and facilities, legal services, human resources, training, ICT, firearms licensing, and crime recording. The Bedfordshire PCC told us they were "determined to test the limits of what can be achieved".[43]

21. Some commissioners are collaborating on particular policy areas. For example, the three PCCs in the North East have developed a regional strategy to combat violence against women and girls.[44] On counter-terrorism, PCCs in the South West have formed a dedicated team, whilst those in the South East have created a dedicated unit that has a single chain of command with Thames Valley Police Force acting as the host force.[45]

22. In two parts of England there has been an even greater drive to promote collaboration. Following the 2012 Spending Review, Warwickshire and West Mercia police forces have developed a strategic alliance whereby each retains a commissioner, a chief constable and a deputy, but below that there will effectively be one force. The Warwickshire PCC told us the initiative had been a "remarkable success", having contributed to three-quarters of the savings required of the force by 2014-15.[46] Without it, he said "Warwickshire would have struggled to survive as an independent force".[47] Similarly, Sussex and Surrey have agreed a vision to work "as one, operationally and organisationally to enhance and improve services for the public".[48] The forces in both cases have stopped short of a full merger at least until after the next PCC elections in 2016. The Warwickshire PCC told us any such move would first require a mandate from local communities and politicians—a position also supported by the Minister for Policing, Criminal Justice and Victims, who told us "we are not going to impose mergers top-down, but if people want to come up with proposals from the bottom up, they can do".[49]

23. However, the positive evidence submitted by commissioners on collaboration contrasts starkly with the findings of HMIC in July 2013 that:

    The picture on collaboration is deeply disappointing. Despite HMIC highlighting the untapped potential that exists in collaboration, the pace of change over the last year has been too slow and only a minority of forces (18) are delivering more than 10% of their savings through collaboration.[50]

There was also significant variation in performance between police forces. The report found that 18 police forces expected five per cent or less of their business to be delivered through collaboration in 2014-15. This contrasted with 20 per cent for Kent and Essex, 28 per cent in Norfolk, and 31 per cent in Suffolk. HMIC acknowledged that slow progress was in part a result of the initial hiatus following the elections of commissioners in 2012. Some of the examples reported in evidence to this Committee will have reflected the response by commissioners to re-double their efforts since the report's publication. A subsequent HMIC report commissioned by the five East Midlands PCCs described the forces as showing "great vision, as well as strong and cohesive leadership, in establishing [their] collaboration programme, which was ahead of its time".[51] Nevertheless, the Police Foundation told us: "more needs to be done to encourage inter-force collaboration", although efforts to do so should not impinge on the ability of commissioners to fulfil their own manifesto commitments as set out in their police and crime plans.[52]

24. Collaborative working has the potential to save money as well as providing a higher standard of policing. We support the efforts of commissioners in working with their neighbours and others in fields as diverse as the provision of blue light services, mental health, community safety, organised crime and counter-terrorism. Although there has been progress in some areas, it is clear that a majority of police forces are not yet exploiting the full potential of collaboration. We recommend that, for forces delivering less than 10 per cent of their business through collaboration, commissioners and chief constables should prioritise work in this area, seeking advice from those forces that have already demonstrated success. We will also continue to highlight examples of good practice in collaborative working in the future.

25. We also support the alliances between Warwickshire and West Mercia, and Surrey and Sussex, the former of which has achieved the majority of their required savings over the current spending period through collaboration. Where such alliances prove successful and supported by the public, we believe there is a case for facilitating the full merger of forces under a single police and crime commissioner and chief constable.

Transparency

26. If the electorate is to hold commissioners to account for their actions and performance, it is vital that they are as open and transparent as possible. To this end the Electoral Local Policing Bodies (Specified Information) Order 2011 places a statutory duty on commissioners to publish certain information about themselves and their work, including on:

·  Who they are and what they do;

·  What they spend and how they spend it;

·  What their priorities are and how they are doing;

·  How they make decisions;

·  What policies and procedures govern the operation of the office of the police and crime commissioner; and

·  Lists of gifts and donations, Freedom of Information requests, and registers of interests.

In our first Report of the 2013-14 Session we noted that a number of commissioners were failing to meet their transparency requirements. The Government believes it is the responsibility of the chief executive of each PCC office, as monitoring officer, to ensure their commissioners are compliant with the Order.[53] Nevertheless, in its response to our Report, the Home Office said it had reminded chief executives and their commissioners of their obligations.[54]

27. We were, therefore, disappointed to hear during the course of evidence to this inquiry that whilst the level of reporting had improved, many commissioners were still failing to meet their statutory requirementson transparency. In November 2013, CoPaCC, an independent organisation set up to compare the work of PCCs, published a thematic paper which assessed the performance of all commissioners.[55] The report found that only one of the PCC offices had all 25 primary statutory disclosures on its website, and four commissioners provided 15 or less. Around two-thirds of offices had complied with 20 or more of the disclosure requirements. Bernard Rix, the head of CoPaCC, acknowledged that the analysis considered only whether the information was available on the commissioner's website—it did not assess the quality of the information provided.[56]

28. Notwithstanding the work carried out by organisations such as CoPaCC, the Home Office and the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners provides relatively little comparative analysis that might help the general public to assess the actions and decisions of their commissioners against each other. This does not just apply for the publication of statutory information. For instance, in recent months PCCs have been negotiating the transfer to chief constables of police staff, assets and liabilities that were formerly employed or held by police authorities, and which passed to commissioners upon taking office. The 'Stage 2 transfers', as they are known, were due to be completed in March 2014, and commissioners will have adopted a range of approaches to the process. The Police Foundation noted that, whilst some PCCs had published their proposals, a single document that brought together all the different structures would also be welcome.[57]

29. The Committee on Standards in Public Life told us: "PCCs should also consider how lobbying activities may bring conflicts of interest in respect of procurement and decision-making".[58] Accordingly, it called on commissioners to publish a register of meetings held with external stakeholders.

30. We are deeply concerned that despite a requirement in statute, and a reminder from the Home Office, some commissioners are still failing to meet their transparency requirements. This information is vital in allowing voters to assess the effectiveness of their PCCs. We recommend that the Home Office and the Association of Policing and Crime Chief Executives continue to pursue this matter with the relevant PCC offices. Furthermore, we recommend that commissioners begin to publish a register of meetings held with external stakeholders.

31. However, we believe this information will be more useful to the public and police and crime panels in holding PCCs to account if it is drawn together to allow meaningful comparisons. As such, we recommend that the Association of PCCs begin collating and publishing all statutory information on its website, and carry out comparative analysis where appropriate. In so doing, it should also highlight those PCC offices that are not meeting their requirements. The Home Office or HMIC should also publish a comparative analysis of the range of ways in which commissioners have approached the 2014 Stage 2 transfer of staff and assets.

Appointment of deputy and assistant commissioners

32. The Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 permits commissioners to appoint a deputy and other staff as appropriate. It also states that, with the exception of the deputy, all appointments should be on merit. The deputy PCC is a member of the commissioner's staff, and it is the only post that is not politically restricted. This means they can carry out political activity on behalf of the commissioner. Apart from the core functions of the commissioner, such as the issuing of a police and crime plan or the appointment of a chief constable, the deputy can undertake any functions on behalf of the PCC. Where a commissioner appoints a deputy, they are required to notify the police and crime panel, which must then hold a confirmation hearing with the candidate before making a report recommending their appointment or otherwise. The commissioner may accept or reject the panel's recommendation as they see fit. The same process is required for the commissioner's choice of chief executive and chief finance officer. At present, 24 out of 41 PCCs have employed deputies.

33. In addition, six commissioners have appointed assistant PCCs. These posts are not defined under the 2011 Act, hence fall within commissioners' other staff and should be politically restricted and appointed on merit. Such appointments are also not subject to a confirmation hearing by the police and crime panel, except where they are also fulfilling another senior role within the PCC's team. The role of assistant PCC appears to vary across areas. In Northamptonshire, one of the commissioners' four assistant PCCs is the chief executive and monitoring officer, whereas the West Midlands PCC has appointed three assistants to sit on a strategic policing and crime board.[59]

34. The appointment of assistant and deputy commissioners has been a source of media interest since the 2012 elections. The fact that PCCs are free to appoint whoever they choose as deputy has inevitably led to public concern over a lack of transparency and, in some cases, accusations of cronyism, which have been damaging to the reputation of commissioners.[60] In three cases (Humberside, Sussex and West Mercia) such appointments have taken place despite the police and crime panel recommending against. In Sussex, for example, the panel said it had not been "provided with a role profile, or […] sufficient information to explain the nature and scope of the role, its functions or responsibilities".[61] The West Mercia Police and Crime Panel told us it had been very critical of the commissioner over a perceived lack of transparency in his choice of candidate, which even resulted in a vote of 'no confidence'.[62] Elsewhere, the West Yorkshire panel endorsed the commissioner's choice of deputy, but only after several members had voiced concerns. Its subsequent chair, Cllr Allison Lowe, told us she thought the PCC had failed to demonstrate a need for the post, and that it was "a waste of taxpayers' money".[63]

35. Similar concerns have hung over the appointment of assistant commissioners. For example, all three of the assistant PCCs in the West Midlands are Labour councillors, despite having been hired through an ostensibly open and transparent recruitment process. In Northamptonshire, the Conservative PCC has subsequently appointed four assistant commissioners, one of whom was his campaign agent and another his campaign spokesperson.

36. Policy Exchange and Lord Wasserman both robustly supported the right of commissioners to appoint deputies.[64] The former told us "PCCs should not be squeamish about appointing the people they need to do a good job". In evidence, several commissioners gave reasons why they had chosen to appoint a deputy. Often they have done so to fill a gap they had identified in their own experience. For instance, the Thames Valley PCC appointed a deputy who was able to advise him on Buckinghamshire issues.[65] The Warwickshire PCC told us his deputy's knowledge of the county and its politics had been invaluable to him.[66] The Sussex PCC said her deputy, who had previously been the chair of the police authority, had been "an incredible asset".[67] She likened the right to make such an appointment equivalent to that of a local authority leader choosing a deputy.[68] Although another witness noted that deputies in those cases were also elected politicians, and so remained accountable to the electorate.[69]

37. One option for improving the transparency of the process for deputies is for them to stand for election on a dual ticket with the candidate for commissioner.[70] This would have been the preference of the PCCs for West Yorkshire and the West Midlands.[71] Where such appointments are proposed post-election, others suggested there should be an open and transparent recruitment process, requiring greater clarity on why the post is required, what the role will be, and why the person proposed is the most suitable for the role.[72] The Chair of the Surrey Police and Crime Panel also proposed that panels should have some power of veto, and the ability to remove a deputy in circumstances where it was apparent that they were not the most appropriate person for the job.[73]

38. The employment of assistants and deputies has raised inevitable accusations of cronyism. Whilst we do not question the right of commissioners to appoint a deputy, their appointment must be transparent and instil public confidence. We recommend that at the 2016 elections, candidates for commissioner should be able to name their intended deputies so that they are elected on the same ticket. In cases where a commissioner subsequently seeks to appoint a deputy post-election, the Home Office should set out a clear process for the conduct of their selection. The police and crime panel should also have the power to veto the appointment.

39. We believe the status of assistant PCCs is ambiguous and risks creating public confusion about their role, and that the nomenclature should be avoided. In some cases their appointment appears to side-step the scrutiny process required by statute for deputies. In some areas the appointment of multiple assistants could be seen as an attempt by the PCCs in those areas to recreate the former police authorities. We are also concerned that such appointments do not meet the requirement for posts below the level of deputy to be politically restricted. We recommend that the appointment of posts aside from deputy commissioner should in all cases be subject to an open and transparent recruitment process similar to that for entry to the Civil Service or local government, with that process approved by the chief executive of the office of the PCC.

Target setting and crime statistics

40. In recent years the Government has sought to promote the operational independence of chief constables by scrapping national targets for crime reduction. The current administration removed the final national targets, which related to improving public confidence in the police, in 2010. Since then, it has set police forces the more general objective to reduce and prevent crime.

41. When they came to office, many commissioners adopted a similar approach to target-setting. The Surrey PCC told us one of his first acts was to do away with numerical targets, which he described as providing "reassurance for politicians, but […] mean very little to the wider public".[74] The Greater Manchester PCC said he had done away with targets, "preferring instead new, meatier performance reports" that took a more rounded view.[75] Elsewhere, the Cambridgeshire PCC said he had "gone to great lengths not to set targets".[76] Yet this pattern has not been consistent across all commissioners. A BBC analysis of police and crime plans in 2013 found that 18 out of 41 PCCs were using targets or performance measures to hold their chief constables to account, using a total of 178 performance targets.[77]

42. The main driver for the move away from target-setting at a national and force-level has been concern that they create perverse incentives to under or misreport crime. The Police-Recorded Crime (PRC) statistics in particular have been seen to be susceptible to such gaming. Indeed, colleagues on the Public Administration Select Committee have recently published a damning report on the reliability of PRC data, following evidence from a whistleblower from the Metropolitan Police. Among the reasons given for the inaccuracy of PRC statistics were a lack of awareness and understanding of the National Crime Recording Standard and the cessation of independent audits since 2006-07, but also pressures associated with the use of performance measures.[78] In November 2013 the Chief Constable for Derbyshire, Mike Creedon, was widely reported for claiming there remained an obsession with crime figures, and that as a result many forces did everything they could to ensure recorded crime was not going up. In January 2014 the UK Statistics Authority stripped the PRC statistics of their designation as National Statistics.

43. We asked many of our witnesses whether they recognised the concerns raised by Mike Creedon and others. Lord Stevens told us he believed that the manipulation of PRC data was happening in certain forces. He described to us a Police Federation sergeants branch annual meeting he had attended where a number of participants had told him "the biggest scandal coming our way is the recording of crime".[79] In his evidence, the Chair of the Police Federation said: "I still have concerns about the accuracy of crime recording".[80] But the chief constables we spoke to said they had confidence in the PRC statistics. The Chief Constable for Bedfordshire told us they had a rigorous independent audit trail that had a 98 per cent compliance rate.[81] Sir Hugh Orde, the President of the Association of Chief Police Officers said he did not recognise the level and extent described by Mike Creedon.[82] Indeed, chief constables rely on the crime figures to determine where best to allocate their resources. As the Chief Constable for Thames Valley put it: "It is absolutely in my interest to make sure that the crime figures are accurate".[83] The Chief Constable for Sussex also noted that in his force, at least, crime statistics did not form any part of the system for reward, recruitment, selection or promotion.[84]

44. In response to heightened concern over the quality of PRC data, many of the commissioners we spoke to said they had instigated reviews to ensure their police forces were compliant.[85] In February 2013, HMIC published a report on crime recording in Kent, commissioned by the PCC in the wake of the arrest of five detectives in Maidstone following an anti-corruption investigation, and unease at the level of no-criming by the force, particularly in relation to rape. No-criming is where the police subsequently judge that no crime took place. In 2010-11, 30 per cent of rape cases in Kent were no-crimed—the highest of any force. [86] The inspection found that Kent Police were under-recording approximately one in every 10 crimes, and that many crimes were not being resolved appropriately. It concluded that "appreciably more needs to be done before the people of Kent can be confident that the crime and resolution figures published by the force are as accurate as they should be".[87]

45. The Kent PCC told us she was "shocked by the report".[88] However, a number of interventions over the course of 2013 have seen an improvement in processes, and a subsequent HMIC report published in January 2014 concluded that the force had made considerable progress. One of the reasons it gave was the move away from a target-based approach to managing performance to one that focused on outcomes and quality of service. The report noted that: "This has already had a beneficial effect, but more needs to be done in terms of training and raising awareness of the new approach".[89] HMIC is now conducting a force-by-force audit of crime recording, commissioned by the Home Secretary, which it expects to report in the autumn.

46. Public confidence in the veracity of crime data has been severely undermined by recent revelations, culminating in the withdrawal of their designation as National Statistics. We welcome the work that HMIC, commissioners and chief constables are now undertaking to ensure the robustness of crime data, especially as they constitute a key indicator on which the public will assess the performance of commissioners in 2016.

47. We note that target-setting has been cited as one of the reasons for the manipulation of crime figures. We are concerned, therefore, that a large number of commissioners have set targets or performance measures as part of their police and crime plans. Where this is the case, it is vital that PCCs ensure such targets operate as intended and do not act as incentives for the gaming of crime statistics in the future. We recommend that all such commissioners review urgently the auditing arrangements they have in place. We are mindful also that as the next elections approach many PCCs will feel under pressure to demonstrate their effectiveness. It will be the responsibility of chief constables to ensure this does not translate into pressure on forces to under or misreport crime.

Support for victims

48. During 2014 and 2015 the commissioning of services for victims will transfer from the Ministry of Justice to PCCs. At present, the referral of victims from police forces and their subsequent support is largely provided by Victim Support, a national charity set up in 2008 following the merger of 77 local victim support charities. It is funded by central Government grant. From October 2014 a number of PCCs will begin providing locally commissioned referral and support services for victims for which they will receive direct funding from the Ministry of Justice. From 2015 all PCCs will be responsible for commissioning such services.

49. Victim Support is working with PCCs and the Government to manage the transition over the next year, but has identified several potential risks.[90] First, new providers will have to develop their own training and ensure it is fit for purpose. Second, there is a possibility that volunteers who had previously worked for Victim Support will leave the sector rather than work for another organisation, for instance, the local police. Third, local providers will need to ensure they have IT networks that are secure to the Government's requisite standard for holding information on victims' cases. Finally, changes to the Victims Code and Witness Charter, publicity around the treatment of vulnerable victims and witnesses, and the introduction of the Victims Right to Review have all raised public expectations over the quality of service victims should receive at a time when the delivery mechanism for those services is changing. This a particular concern given the recent report by HMIC on domestic violence and abuse, which found that the current police response is failing victims.[91]

50. The Association of PCCs told us that 20 commissioners had the provision of support and protection for victims as a priority in their police and crime plans.[92] For example, the Cheshire PCC said the transfer of funding "offers a real opportunity for us to put victims at the heart of the criminal justice system and ensure that victims no longer fall through the cracks".[93]

51. Many PCCs seem to be taking seriously the responsibility they are due to take on for commissioning victims services. There is a potential opportunity to make a significant improvement to the quality of services offered in this area. However, there are also a number of risks, particularly during the transition phase. We recommend that HMIC evaluate the approach taken after PCCs take over responsibility for commissioning victims services in October 2014 so as to inform decision-making by PCCs in the second tranche. We further recommend that before the next PCC elections, HMIC conduct a full evaluation of the move to local commissioning to inform the approach taken by the next generation of PCCs.

Commissioner-led campaigns

52. Evidence from the first 18 months of the work of commissioners suggest they can provide a voice for influencing policy at a national level. PCCs have campaigned on a range of issues. For example, the West Yorkshire PCC has pushed for a larger proportion of the funds seized from criminals under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 to be invested back into the local areas from which they came for use in community anti-crime initiatives. At present, half of the funds go to the Home Office for use on core purposes. We received evidence from the National Federation of Retail Newsagents supporting this proposal, and there is currently an e-petition entitled 'Give us back all the money recovered from criminals to keep our communities safe'.[94] Elsewhere, a group of 11 commissioners have recently put their weight behind the Government's proposals to introduce standardised packaging for cigarettes and other tobacco products. In a letter to The Timesthey argue that: "Unbranded packaging has the potential to save many lives and reduce the financial burden on our public services". They also describe the tobacco industry's fear that it will lead to an increase in counterfeiting as "nonsense".

53. Police and crime commissioners are increasingly using their voice to lobby Government on policies that are formed at a national level. We welcome this, and hope that they continue to do so.

Overall effectiveness of commissionersto date

54. In evidence the Home Office and PCCs themselves cited a range of ways in which they have sought to make an impact since their election 18 months ago. In Kent the PCC has rolled out a fleet of 'mobile police contact points' to make it easier for people in rural areas to report a crime or anti-social behaviour. The Cheshire PCC has introduced a mobile app that allows users to report crime directly to the police, whilst the Gloucestershire PCC has launched a mobile app that allows young people to safely provide information on gang-related activity in Gloucester, and which lets them speak directly to a multi-agency team that will provide support. In North Wales, Suffolk and Thames Valley the PCCs have unveiled initiatives to tackle rural crime. This has included the introduction of a 'Country Watch' messaging system in the Thames Valley area to which 7,500 people have signed up to receive crime alerts, witness appeals, details of police operations, among others. Elsewhere, in Staffordshire the PCC has introduced a number plate recognition system to identify uninsured vehicles, which resulted in over 700 vehicles being seized during its first four months, as well as improving how police work with the local court system.[95] These examples show the various ways in which commissioners have developed innovative ways of responding to local concerns and priorities. Furthermore, as the Chair of the Association of PCCs noted, they are the kind of initiatives that would not have been done under the former police authorities.[96]

55. The majority of our witnesses, however, believed it was too early to tell whether the new model of police governance had proven a force for good.[97] First, there are many factors that affect crime, such as socio-economic effects or national policy decisions, which are largely outside the control of commissioners.It is therefore impossible at this stage to disaggregate any effect brought about by PCCs. Indeed, the current downward trend in crime levels, measured by the Crime Survey for England and Wales, largely predates the introduction of commissioners. Second, because PCCs are required to respect the operational independence of chief constables, it will take time for any changes in strategic direction brought about by the commissioner to have an effect. Third, whilst many PCCs have developed innovative ideas, generally it will take time to determine what outcomes they have achieved.[98] Finally, any assessment of the contribution of commissioners must separate their performance as individuals from the effectiveness of the role itself.[99] As the Police Foundation put it: "we need to give this model time to run before we discard it".[100]

56. It is too early to say whether the introduction of police and crime commissioners has been a success. As such this inquiry should be seen as a progress report, rather than a definitive assessment of the PCC model. Indeed, even by 2016 it may be difficult to draw a national picture because of the range of different approaches being taken by commissioners, although this should be possible after the term then commencing. However, one clear message from our evidence is that PCCs have provided greater clarity of leadership for policing within their areas, and are increasingly recognised by the public as accountable for the strategic direction of their police force.


29  PCC0008 (Police and Crime Commissioner for Surrey), para 1.5 Back

30  PCC0037 (Police and Crime Commissioner for Staffordshire), para 10 Back

31   Q 219 (Police and Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley) Back

32  PCC0001 (Home Office), para 56-57 Back

33  PCC0034 (Association of Police and Crime Commissioners), para 9.3 Back

34  PCC0001 (Home Office), para 65 Back

35  PCC0005 (Police and Crime Commissioner for Cheshire), para 20; Qq 62 (Police and Crime Commissioner for Cambridgeshire and Police and Crime Commissioner for Greater Manchester) and 63 (Police and Crime Commissioner for West Mercia) Back

36   Q 695 (Minister for Policing, Criminal Justice and Victims) Back

37  PCC0001 (Home Office), para 63, and PCC0008 (Police and Crime Commissioner for Surrey), para 7.3 Back

38  PCC0001 (Home Office), para 62 Back

39  PCC0034 (Association of Police and Crime Commissioners), para 9.5 Back

40  PCC0016 (Sophie Chambers), para 13 Back

41  PCC0016 (Sophie Chambers), para 4 Back

42  PCC0005 (Police and Crime Commissioner for Cheshire), para 19 Back

43  PCC0040 (Police and Crime Commissioner for Bedfordshire), para 8 Back

44  PCC0006 (Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland), para 7.1 Back

45  PCC0018 (Police and Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley), para 30 Back

46  PCC0001 (Home Office), para 59, and PCC0035(Police and Crime Commissioner for Warwickshire), para 35 Back

47   Q 59 (Police and Crime Commissioner for Warwickshire) Back

48  PCC0008 (Police and Crime Commissioner for Surrey), para 7.1 Back

49   Qq 66 (Police and Crime Commissioner for Warwickshire) and 710 (Minister for Policing, Criminal Justice and Victims) Back

50   HMIC, Policing in Austerity: Rising to the Challenge, July 2013 Back

51   HMIC, Working Together: a review of the arrangements for collaboration between the five East Midlands police forces, commissioned by the five police and crime commissioners for the region, November 2013 Back

52  PCC0033 (Police Foundation), para 19 Back

53  PCC0001 (Home Office) para 67 and 71 Back

54  Op. Cit. Back

55   CoPaCC, PCC Statutory Transparency, November 2013 Back

56   Q 380 (Bernard Rix, CoPaCC) Back

57  PCC0033 (Police Foundation), para 13 Back

58  PCC0023 (Committee on Standards in Public Life), para 11-12 Back

59   Q 440 (Police and Crime Commissioner for the West Midlands) Back

60  PCC0033 (Police Foundation), para 21 Back

61  PCC0004 (Gabriel Webber), para 3a Back

62  PCC0021 (West Mercia Police and Crime Panel), para 6 Back

63   Q 531 (Chair of the West Yorkshire Police and Crime Panel) Back

64   Qq 377 (Policy Exchange) and 404 (Lord Wasserman) Back

65   Q 228 (Police and Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley) Back

66  PCC0035 (Police and Crime Commissioner for Warwickshire) Back

67   Q 179 (Police and Crime Commissioner for Sussex) Back

68   Q 227 (Police and Crime Commissioner for Sussex) Back

69   Q 309 (Professor Ian Loader, Stevens Commission) Back

70  PCC0049 (Roger Seabourne), para 9; Q 479 (Centre for Public Scrutiny) Back

71  PCC0032 (West Yorkshire Police and Crime Panel), para 2.2.2; Q 439 (Police and Crime Commissioner for the West Midlands) Back

72   Qq 377 (Police Foundation), 444 (Police and Crime Commissioner for Avon and Somerset), and 521 (Chair of the West Yorkshire Police and Crime Panel) Back

73   Q 540 (Chair of the Surrey Police and Crime Panel) Back

74  PCC0008 (Police and Crime Commissioner for Surrey), para 2.1 Back

75  PCC0042 (Police and Crime Commissioner for Greater Manchester), para 2.3 Back

76   Q 26 (Police and Crime Commissioner for Cambridgeshire) Back

77  PCC0033 (Police Foundation), para 7 Back

78   Public Administration Committee, 13th Report of Session 2013-14, Caught red-handed: Why we can't count on Police Recorded Crime statistics, HC 760  Back

79   Q 346 (Lord Stevens) Back

80   Q 618 (Police Federation) Back

81   Q 77 (Chief Constable for Bedfordshire) Back

82   Q 91 (Association of Chief Police Officers) Back

83   Q 244 (Chief Constable for Thames Valley) Back

84   Q 248 (Chief Constable for Sussex) Back

85   Qq 10 (Police and Crime Commissioner for Warwickshire), 12 (Police and Crime Commissioner for Greater Manchester), 136 (Police and Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley), and 420 (Police and Crime Commissioner for Avon and Somerset) Back

86   HMIC, Crime recording in Kent: a report commissioned by the Police and Crime Commissioner for Kent, February 2013 Back

87  Ibid. Back

88   Q 637 (Police and Crime Commissioner for Kent) Back

89   HMIC, Crime Recording in Kent - An interim progress report commissioned by the Police and Crime Commissioner for Kent, January 2014 Back

90  PCC0028 (Victim Support) Back

91   HMIC, Everyone's business:Improving the police response to domestic abuse, March 2014 Back

92  PCC0034 (Association of Police and Crime Commissioners), para 8.3 Back

93  PCC0005 (Police and Crime Commissioner for Cheshire), para 5 Back

94  PCC0011 (National Federation of Retail Newsagents), para 11 Back

95  PCC0001 (Home Office), para 10, 14, 15, and 49-52 Back

96   Q 5 (Police and Crime Commissioner for Greater Manchester) Back

97   For example, PCC0011 (National Federation of Retail Newsagents), PCC0019 (Surrey Police and Crime Panel), para 1.3, PCC0020 (Police Federation), para 12, PCC0021 (West Mercia Police and Crime Panel), para 3, PCC0024 (Hampshire Police and Crime Panel), para 1.3, PCC0033 (Police Foundation), para 25, PCC0037 (Police and Crime Commissioner for Staffordshire), para 1, and PCC0047 (Frank A. Chapman), para 4; Qq 6 (Police and Crime Commissioner for Cambridgeshire), 363 (CoPaCC), 451 (Local Government Association) and 468 (Centre for Public Scrutiny) Back

98  PCC0033 (Police Foundation), para 3 Back

99  PCC0033 (Police Foundation), para 25, and PCC0037 (Police and Crime Commissioner for Staffordshire), para 2 Back

100   Q 363 (Police Foundation) Back


 
previous page contents next page


© Parliamentary copyright 2014
Prepared 5 May 2014