Top cop role needs work, says report

Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Lloyd
Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Lloyd
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A PROGRESS report stating police commissioners are still “under probation” has been welcomed by Wigan’s PCC.

Major reforms are required to improve public confidence in PCCs following low turnouts in their elections, a parliamentary committee has said.

PCC Tony Lloyd - who was voted into the role in 2012 - said he accepted the report’s findings that work needs to be done.

He said: “I’m pleased to see the committee highlighting good work being carried out here in Greater Manchester and across the country.

“I also welcome the challenges issued in this report. I, along with my PCC colleagues, have been given a great deal of power.

“It is important that the right checks and balances are in place to ensure that we are properly representing the public.”

The report, compiled by the Home Affairs Committee, identified that “it is still too early to determine whether the introduction of PCCs has been a success.”

It added that given the low turnout for their elections, the concept of police commissioners is still on probation.

In Wigan borough, the turnout for the PCC elections was a meagre 11.42 per cent. Four polling stations had fewer than 20 voters, including two that received just 12 visits.

The committee also suggested that there should be an electoral mandate for deputy commissioners.

Under the current system, PCCs have been able to choose their deputy without public consultation.

Jim Battle was brought into the role of Greater Manchester’s deputy last year.

Chair of the select committee, Mr Keith Vaz MP, said: “The hiring of deputies and the decision to remove chief constables are critical decisions for local communities, it is vital that the amount of the scrutiny applied to commissioners increases.

“Deputies should not be cronies that are given their job on the basis of nepotism. “By electing them on the same ticket we ensure that the public will be able to have their say.

“Some commissioners have fallen well short of the public’s expectations and urgent reforms are needed to ensure that this concept does not put at risk public trust and engagement in the police.”

The report praised Mr Lloyd’s work improving the service provided to people with mental health issues and new select committee-style hearings into matters of significant public interest.