This blog is mainly about the governance and future of policing and crime services. (Police & Crime Commissioners feature quite a lot.) But there are also posts about the wider justice system. And because I am town councillor and political activist, local & national issues are covered a little, as well.

Friday, August 24, 2012

The PCC team?

I had a very interesting conversation with an academic* from Oxford University yesterday who is researching the introduction of PCCs. One strand of his work at the moment is to interview candidates and those could have been candidates - exploring their views, concerns, hopes etc. He had some thumping good questions and my mouth was parched by the end of 80 minutes or so that we had together.

One of the questions he posed was who would I have selected to work with me had I become PCC in Thames Valley. This was not a new question to me as it had come up in the hustings earlier in the year. I answered that I would have wanted:

  • A cracking good media person - a sort of my own personal Alistair Campbell - to liaise with the local news people. 
  • A highly skilled community engagement practitioner who would lead on building links with the diverse communities of Thames Valley
  • A 'Director of Research' to promote and coordinate efforts to institute more evidence based practice in policing
  • A visionary & big picture accountant who could read spreadsheets like Neo ended up reading the Matrix
  • A superlative commissioner / procurer / contract negotiator with a PhD in 'Take no prisoners Nous' so that any contracts signed by me as PCC would be watertight and not end up in huge costs to the future public purse when the 'small print' kicks in
  • A wizened & wise ex senior cop to advise me on the games that people might play and keep me grounded
  • A seconded head of crime prevention and empowered citizenship to extend the work of the Office for Policing and Crime into focused community development 

So if you were to become a PCC - who would you want on your team?

UPDATE: responding to various tweeting debates

Several people have been responding to this blog post on twitter and many of them seem, not unreasonably, concerned with how much this would all cost. Well (perhaps fortunately), I don't have to cost these posts as I won't be in a position to fund them but... I would say:
  • Some of these posts could easily be part time and contracted in on an as and when basis
  • Some of these posts already exist (e.g. the financial & crime prevention ones)
  • Some of these posts would pay back their cost ten or more times over (commissioner one for starters - and the research one - wouldn't it be better to fund more policing that works?)
  • Some of these posts are just simply essential of a PCC is to have a glimmer of a hope to stay connected to the people they are meant to be representing & leading (media, engagement & ex-copper ones)
  • All of these posts are about value - not just cost (a thing which the so called 'Tax Payers' Alliance seem to consistently overlook)
  • Finally - as I say above - this is about provoking a debate on what teams the PCC will need to recruit in order even to attempt to make the job worthwhile...
And as for the debate about 'how senior ex cop' - naturally a PCC will want to stay in touch with all levels of all the organisations that they will be influencing and leading. But by senior I mean someone with enough past experience, clout and insight to really add value to the task facing the PCC. In this instance - seniority is not about rank.

Please respond below with any further comments. Thanks

*The academic in question is Matthew Davies and he is happy to be contacted about his research.


  1. Great list. Only question I'd have would be over affordability - though there is an argument that the possible impact of NOT having any one of these could be higher. Maybe one or more might exist within the force already...

  2. Thanks Bernard - see above addition to the blog post - and I agree with your points

  3. Jon, Thanks for the update. Interesting that these additional costs do not feature in any of the Government propaganda about PCC's. I accept that they would say that it is up to each PCC to decide on their team but there is a cost - and possibly in the longer term savings providing the team help the PCC achieve their policing plan.

    Its a bit like the Police and Crime panel which hardly features in the promotional information but must have similar costs to the existing Police Authority because it is much the same beast.

    Although these may be side issues in terms of the actual election they will be costs that the PCC will have to justify going forward.

  4. It will be up to each PCC to reshape existing PA secretariat to match their manifesto of course - so some PCCs may choose to make all PA staff redundant (apart from CEO & CFO - which are statutory) - and so (probably) cost a lot less...

    But in my opinion, they could not possibly do the job then (unless they plan to do nothing.. like a certain Tory candidate in my neck of woods seems to be saying:

    The PCP has a set cost of about £65k I think, which will just about cover expenses of members and one full time member of staff. The PCP is not a replacement PA - it is a very different beast I would argue.

    But PCC candidates, you are right, will have to say more about their plans during the campaign.