Police & Crime Commissioner – How it Came About?
The Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act received royal assent on 15 September 2012. As a result Police Authorities in England and Wales were abolished on 22 November 2012 in favour of directly elected Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs). The introduction of PCCs brought with it the biggest change in policing for decades, introducing a new style of policing governance designed to strengthen links with the local communities.
Main Roles and Responsibilities of the Police & Crime Commissioner
The Police & Crime Commissioner has the following key roles:
- Represent and obtain the views of local communities;
- Set priorities for the Force and prepare a Police & Crime Plan;
- Hold the Chief Constable to account;
- Set the Force budget and the council tax precept (the police element of council tax);
- Appoint and (if necessary) dismiss the Chief Constable;
- Publish an annual report stating how priorities and targets have been met
- Publish other information to enable greater public awareness of police and crime performance in the area;
- Consider collaboration to improve efficiency and effectiveness of services;
- Ensure Value for Money is achieved;
- Ensure that the Chief Constable fulfils their duties relating to equality, diversity and safeguarding children.
How the Police Council Tax Precept will be set
The Police & Crime Commissioner (PCC) is responsible for setting the police precept, that is to say the amount of your council tax that is collected for policing.
The PCC will consult every year with the residents of Cleveland to find out what you think about the policing priorities, the services that you expect and the possible budget implications that these things may have for the following year.
In the Autumn of each year the PCC looks at the police spending plans for the following year and takes into account the revenue budget – (which is the day to day running costs of the Police) and the capital budget (investment in assets) and the grants that are received from Government. From this the precept can be set (the amount that has to be raised locally through the council tax)
Essentially the precept is calculated as: Net cost of service Less 'future efficiencies/savings' Less 'grants from government (approx 70% of the budget)' = Precept required from council tax.
As the grant from Government is reduced, the more the pressure on maintaining a precept level that will ensure that service levels can be maintained (or improved). As a simple ready reckoner, every 1% increase of precept for the police generates £260k of spending, or vice versa if precept is reduced.
After consulting with residents the PCC will propose a precept to the Police and Crime Panel (PCP) in the first week of February. The PCP has the power to veto this proposal and if it does so then the PCC must propose an alternative precept. The PCC must propose an alternative precept based on the direction given by the PCP, therefore is the PCP indicates that the initial precept proposed is too high then the second proposal must be lower, and vice-versa.
The PCP can accept or reject the second proposal on precept from the PCC however they cannot veto it. The PCC must decide by the 1st March each year what the precept for the following financial year is going to be.