Police and Crime Commissioners: Frequently asked questions
This section gives more information on some key aspects of the new policing landscape. If you want to find out more about the background to PCCs, go to the Home Office website (external link) (from where some of the information below is taken). If your question isn’t answered here, please email us and we’ll add it in.
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 taking office, need to 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 the 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.
The PCC can commission policing services from the chief constable (or, in consultation with him/her, from other providers). 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 this annual report the PCC will publish annual financial accounts, including showing how resources were applied against priorities and how value for money was secured.
PCCs 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).
Are PCCs replacing HMIC?
No – The two roles are distinct.
HMIC independently assesses forces in the public interest. We are independent of the Government, the police and PCCs. We monitor and report on forces and policing activity with the aim of encouraging improvement. HMIC decides on the depth, frequency and areas to inspect based on our judgments about what is in the public interest.
PCCs will set priorities for their police force, responding to the needs and demands of local communities, ensure that local and national priorities are suitably funded by setting a budget and local precept, and hold the chief constable to account for the delivery and performance of their force.
How will HMIC work with PCCs and the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime?
What is a police and crime plan?
The PCC will need a document that sets out clearly the priorities for local policing for the whole force area, and how these are going to be addressed. Essentially it must set out the PCC’s objectives for policing and reducing crime and disorder in the area, how policing resources will be allocated and agreements for funding and reporting on their activity.
In developing the plan the PCC must consult the chief constable, who acts as their principal adviser on policing matters. They must also obtain views on the plan from local people and the victims of crime in that area.
The PCC’s role is to ensure that the plan includes and addresses the views on local policing of the electorate; it will be a public document and a key mechanism for the PCC to hold the chief constable to account.
What’s different in London?
Elections did not take place in London. Instead, the powers of a PCC have already gone to the elected mayor (this happened on 16 January 2012). The Metropolitan Police is directly accountable to the mayor and the mayor is directly accountable to the people of London.
The City of London is unique and it has unique policing governance to recognise the fact – it operates on a non-party political basis through its Lord Mayor, aldermen and members of the Court of Common Council. The governance is tailored to the particular institutions and traditions of the City of London and the government does not intend to change that.
What’s different in Wales?
PCCs will replace police authorities in Wales as well as in England. So far as possible, the intention is that the arrangements in Wales and England will be the same, but the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act reflects the Welsh devolution settlement and the specific powers of the National Assembly for Wales and Welsh Ministers.