Police and crime commissioner powers

Back to Further information about Police and crime commissioners PCCs will be able to set the priorities for the police force within their force area, respond to the needs and demands of their communities more effectively, ensure that local and national priorities are suitably funded by setting a budget and the local precept, and hold to account the local chief constable for the delivery and performance of the force.

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  • What powers will a PCC have?

    • PCCs will appoint (and will be able to dismiss) chief constables, although the chief constable will appoint all other officers within the force
    • The PCC will, shortly after their election, set out a five-year police and crime plan (the plan), although it may be refreshed each year and may be fully reopened at the PCC's discretion
    • PCCs will be required to determine local policing priorities, publish the plan, set a local precept and set the annual force budget (including contingency reserves) in consultation with chief constables. The plan will need to take account of national policing challenges, set out in a new 'Strategic Policing Requirement'
    • PCCs will receive the policing grant from the Home Office, various grants from Department for Communities and Local Government and the local precept (as well as other funding streams yet to be determined)
    • The PCC will commission policing services from the chief constable (or other providers - in consultation with the chief constable). These services shall be set out in the plan where their objectives and funding will be publicly disclosed
    • The plan must be published and remain a public document including any updates or amendments made during the five-year period
    • At the end of the financial year the PCC will publish an annual report which will set out progress made by the PCC against the objectives set out in the plan
    • Alongside the annual report the PCC will publish annual financial accounts, including showing how resources were consumed in respect of priorities and how value for money was secured
    • PCCs will also have a general duty to regularly consult and involve the public and have regard to the local authority priorities
    • PCCs will be able to require a report from chief constables at any time about the execution of their functions
    • The local precept will be subject to the same referendum requirements as local government (triggered on rises which exceed thresholds set by government)
  • What will PCCs actually do?

    PCCs will aim to cut crime and deliver an effective and efficient police service within the force area.  They will do this by:

    • holding the chief constable to account for the delivery of the force
    • setting and updating a police and crime plan
    • setting the force budget and precept
    • regularly engaging with the public and communities
    • appointing, and where necessary dismissing, the chief constable
  • Won't PCCs politicise policing?

    No. The job of the PCC will be to ensure the policing needs of their communities are met as effectively as possible, bringing communities closer to the police, building confidence in the system and restoring trust. They will give the public a voice at the highest level, and give the public the ability to ensure their police are accountable. However, it will not be for the PCC to tell the professionals how to do their job - the legislation continues to protect the operational independence of the police by making it clear that the chief constable retains direction and control of the force's officers and staff. The operations of the police will not be politicised; who is arrested and how investigations work will not become political decisions.

    The statutory protocol sets out the roles and responsibilities of the PCC, chief constable, Home Office, police and crime panel and builds on the government's commitment that local chief constables will retain the direction and control of their forces' officers and staff and makes clear that operational independence of the police will be safeguarded. The protocol also underlines the government's commitment to limiting the role of the Home Office in day-to-day policing matters so giving the police a greater freedom to fight crime as they see fit.

  • Why replace the current system of police accountability?

    Police authorities currently exercise significant powers relating to force budgets and strategic control without direct and visible accountability to the public. The government is committed to replacing bureaucratic accountability with democratic accountability. 

    The introduction of PCCs will mean for the first time the public will be able to directly vote for an individual to represent their community's policing needs. In this sense, PCCs are far removed from the current system. The elected individual will be directly accountable to the public in a way that police authorities are not. 

    PCCs will be a significantly more visible and able advocate of the public voice as well as representing better value for money than their overly bureaucratic counterpart currently in place.