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, May 24, 2013

What next for PCC governance?

Frances Cook, Chief Executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform has written a provocative blog following up on the HASC report from yesterday. She highlights the apparent cronyism in lots of places. Do read her blog!

I added this comment:
I don't think local referendums are a way forward as it would lead to a patchwork of different governance structures across the country - making cross border collaboration even more difficult (and many problems). Also if one area voted against having a PCC, what would they be voting for in its place?
I think a far better approach would be to (almost) start again and decide what kind of local governance structure is really required for good joined up delivery of justice, confidence and community safety. There are several options, and much will depend upon the legislative schedule of an incoming administration. Even if a majority Labour government is elected in May 2015, organising a good replacement in time for the May 2016 PCC elections is tight, probably too tight.
So the options might include:
  • Boosting the powers of the Police & Crime Panels to moderate the activity of the PCCs
  • Adding in some more non execs to the PCPs in parallel (these people added much diversity in all senses of the word to the previous Police Authorities)
  • Create 'mini' PCC style governance structures based upon some degree of proportionality of the votes caste - so you might end up with 3 Police & Crime 'Senators' - one Indie, one Labour and one Tory in charge.
  • Shift control of policing over to the Health & Well Being boards
  • Create elected police authorities
There are lots of possibilities. But almost anything has got to be better that what we have at present!
It all comes down to what do we need from policing & crime governance: what design principles can we agree upon and then let's create a structure that matches them.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous25/5/13 17:30

    I'm a serving cop... I'm in favour of using locally elected councillors as the basis of a Police Authority - much in the way the City of London Police is governed. Full time staff should be used for administration only. The current empire building which is going on is counter intuitive and isn't making a blind bit of difference on the ground to public or cops.