It’s one year on since the first PCC elections were held and Police and Crime Commissioners were appointed to 41 Police Forces across England and Wales.
Findings from a survey published today indicate that 35% of people don’t know if they have one, 3% think – incorrectly – that they do not. 51% of people think that the PCCs have had no effect or even a negative effect on crime.
The PCC’s role is to oversee chief constables and forces’ budgets and Ministers hope to boost the role with £20m of extra funding.
Last year’s election saw an average turnout of just 14.9%. This was historically low, leading the Electoral Commission to describe it as “a concern for everyone who cares about democracy”.
From the BBC :
“There are 41 PCCs in place in all areas of England and Wales except London, where the equivalent job is done by elected mayor Boris Johnson.
Influenced by systems in place in parts of the US, their biggest tasks are to hire and fire chief constables and hold them to account for forces’ performances. They also oversee community safety and set out budgets, reporting annually on progress. ‘Accessible’ The government says PCCs will give people more control over policing, but opponents have warned the changes will politicise the service – and that the low turnout showed people did not want them.
A ComRes poll for the BBC suggests 38% of people living in areas where there are PCCs either do not know if there is one, or think that there is not. Some 62% were aware of their existence and 7% said they even knew the name of their PCC.Meanwhile, 41% said they had had a positive effect on policing and 10% negative.
Older people had the greatest awareness of PCCS, with 68% of over-65s saying they knew they had one, compared with 51% of 18- to 24-year-olds.
Policing Minister Damian Green is expected to announce a funding boost designed to encourage innovation in the role when he makes a speech at an event marking the first anniversary of the existence of PCCs in London later.
The Police Innovation Fund is due to launch in the 2014-15 financial year. “
Asked this morning if he thought the PCCs have been a success or an expensive failure, Damien Green said they had been a success – well, he would.
So what about our own PCC, the former Councillor and one time leader of Rotherham’s Children and Young People’s Services, including during the CSE (Child Sexual Exploitation) disgrace ?
Well, Shaun says “We’re on a journey” and that as time goes on, more and more people will know who he is and may even recognise him in the street.
Listen to his account of his time as SYPCC, so far :
I don’t particularly want to recognise him in the street, but I would like to know what positive outcomes there have been in his year of office. No doubt there are some, somewhere. We’ve got him until at least 2016, so for all South Yorkshire’s sake and protection from crime, let’s hope there are. Maybe we will even learn a bit more about the recently “temporarily resigned” Deputy Leader, Akhtar and the very quietly appointed new Deputy. We can hope.
COMING UP : Shaun Wright’s year in office as SYPCC