The following guidance is for those intending to, or considering to, stand for election to Parliamentary seats within the area covered by Cleveland Police.
It is important for anyone interested in standing for election to be clear on what they can and cannot ask of their PCC during the General Election ‘purdah’ period.
It also provides information for the media about political restrictions affecting PCCs.
This statement refers to the operation of the Police and Crime Commissioner function within the period of an election campaign.
The statement is based on guidance prepared by the Association of Police & Crime Commissioners (APCC) and by the Association of Policing & Crime Chief Executives (APACE).
This is the first General Election since the election of Police and Crime Commissioners. Police and Crime Commissioners are both politicians and holders of public office. Police and Crime Commissioners will therefore make a distinction in their activity between their role as politicians and their role as office-holders. As local politicians, they are allowed to undertake whatever campaigning they wish to. As office holders, they are not.
It is important for candidates to be aware of this restriction, which applies in a number of ways:
- It is perfectly acceptable for Police and Crime Commissioners to campaign with prospective candidates when they are NOT on official business – and to describe themselves, and be described, as ‘Police and Crime Commissioner’
- It is not acceptable for Police and Crime Commissioners to campaign with prospective parliamentary candidates, or to express support (or the opposite) for a candidate or party, whilst on official business. This means, for instance, that it is unacceptable for PCCs to use community engagement meetings to lobby for party political support, or for candidates to attempt to use such meetings for the same purpose.
- It is not acceptable for Police and Crime Commissioners to use the resources of their office (or the police), including staff and IT to campaign for or against a candidate or political party. This includes official social media accounts.
- Advice regarding Twitter is that ‘following’ candidates is perfectly acceptable. ‘Favouriting’ or ‘retweeting’ statements which could imply party political support will be avoided.
- It is not acceptable for Police and Crime Commissioners to imply that the police force supports a political party or candidate. The PCC will avoid being photographed with candidates during the election period when accompanied by members of the police force.
The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland will respond positively to requests for factual information from candidates about the PCC’s work. Where the Office proactively makes information available to candidates, it will endeavour to ensure that such information is equally available to all candidates; usually via the PCC’s official website at www.cleveland.pcc.police.uk
Further advice and guidance is available from the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland.
Click here to download the above guidance (Adobe PDF document, 98kB)
Posted on Thursday 16th April 2015