Well, apparently the answer is a Police and Crime Commissioner.
I have to admit that I got caught napping a little bit by this one. I have been scratching my poor old swede and pulling the sad remains of my hair out for weeks trying to work out how on earth a PCC was going to take on all the responsibilities of a fully fledged Police Authority.
I presume that the staff who do all the work have been retained and will be TUPE’d across to the PCC’s office. That leaves the Members of the Police Authority. Would I be right in thinking that they and the Chief Exec are all gone? Replaced by the solitary PCC?
PCC’s salary? I’ve heard various estimates of salary for elected PCCs but this document here shows the proposed salary for PCCs by area, between £65,000 and £100,000 per annum. That certainly seems to be a financial saving on what some of the Chief Execs were being paid, but not very much in the greater scheme of things.
Now these futile elections have cost the country between £75 and £100 million, to organise a shambles. £75 million would have paid the salaries of nearly 2,150 constables for a year. £100 million would have paid for closer to 3,000 constables for a year.
I have been reliably informed that these PCCs will have a team and a crime panel behind them, so they will be a bit like a Police Authority really.
So this very much begs the question “Why?”
Possible answers include
- To make policing more localised and accountable
- To save money
- To identify a scapegoat rather than central government when it all goes belly up, and it might
- Any other reason you can think of.
So, as I see it we have spent between £75 and £100 million pounds to swap an unelected Chief Executive for an elected Police and Crime Commissioner.
Will it really make a tangible difference? Probably not.
Did the great British public understand what was happening? Definitely not.
Has it all been worth it? Almost certainly not.
I genuinely hope that something good and positive arises from the ashes of local Police Authorities, but I won’t be lying awake at night waiting for it.