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Why have Police & Crime Commissioners been introduced?
In September 2011 the Coalition Government passed the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act. This Act included legislation that saw Police Authorities throughout the country replaced with directly elected Police & Crime Commissioners (PCCs). PCCs aim to cut crime and deliver an effective and efficient police service within their force area. To provide stronger and more transparent accountability of the police, PCCs are elected by the public to be the voice of the people and to hold Chief Constables and the Force to account; effectively making the police answerable to the communities they serve. Find out more about the Sussex PCC.
What has happened to Sussex Police Authority?
The Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner (PCC) has replaced the Sussex Police Authority membership and its members in its entirety. The Sussex PCC has assumed the responsibility that used to be overseen by Sussex Police Authority to hold the Chief Constable to account. However, there is also a Police and Crime Panel (PCP) who in turn hold the PCC to account.
Who sits on the Police & Crime Panel and what is their role?
The Sussex Police & Crime Panel (PCP) is made up of a number of elected representatives from the district, borough, unitary and county councils in Sussex. There are also two independent members on the PCP.
The PCP holds the PCC to account and has the power of veto over the appointment of a police Chief Constable and the policing budget. Find out more about the Police & Crime Panel.
How long will the elected Police & Crime Commissioner be in office?
The public will have their say at the ballot box every four years. The next election will be held in May 2020.
What is the role of the Police & Crime Commissioner?
The Police & Crime Commissioner (PCC) carries out certain functions similar to that of the Police Authority, such as setting the budget, drafting the Police & Crime Plan and appointing the Chief Constable. The key difference is that they have sole responsibility for those functions, rather than the 17 members of the Police Authority that operated corporately. The PCC is also a commissioning body, responsible for commissioning services relating to community safety, victims' services and youth offending services. This puts an even greater emphasis on partnership working, especially with Community Safety Partnerships and other agencies within the wider criminal justice system.
The elected Police & Crime Commissioner represents a political party. Does this mean Sussex Police will become politicised?
By definition, an elected individual is a politician whether or not they are affiliated to one political party or another. However, the operational side of policing remains the responsibility of the Chief Constable and should be unaffected by party politics.
Why such a long title as ‘Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner’?
The policy, role and name was decided on and voted for by Parliament when they introduced the position as part of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011. In explanation to their thinking, the idea behind including the ‘crime’ part of the title was to try and emphasise the fact that the Police & Crime Commissioner is involved in more than just policing but also in the wider criminal justice system, including victims, offenders, probation and more. There may also have been concern that calling the role Police Commissioners would cause confusion with the Police Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police who is the equivalent of Sussex’s Chief Constable.
Who sets how much the Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner is paid?
The Police & Crime Commissioner (PCC) needs to be highly motivated and determined to deliver the best and, above all, be focused on making the community that they serve safe. The Home Office wanted to make sure that a suitable and proportionate remuneration is achieved for such a challenging and rewarding role. The Home Secretary has laid a written ministerial statement outlining PCC pay following recommendations put forward by the senior salaries review board report (SSRB).The salary range has been adjusted to represent differences in force weighting and policing challenges and has been aligned but is not equal to chief constable salaries. The policing challenges a PCC faces is different depending on the specific needs and demands of the force area.
Is the Police & Crime Commissioner responsible for fire and rescue services in Sussex?
The new provisions in the Policing and Crime Act 2017 introduced the potential to extend the benefits of the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) model of governance to the fire service when it would be in the interests of economy, efficiency and effectiveness, or public safety to do so. Police & Crime Commissioner's (PCC) nationally have a statutory obligation, under the Act, to explore governance options
In 2017 the Sussex PCC commissioned an independent report to evaluate the options for governance of the local fire and rescue services. Following the report's recommendations a statement outlining the PCC’s intentions around local governance of the fire and rescue services can be found here.