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Clause 1 — Police and crime commissioners

Part of Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill – in the House of Commons at 5:45 pm on 12th September 2011.

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Photo of Vernon Coaker Vernon Coaker Shadow Minister (Home Affairs) 5:45 pm, 12th September 2011

Of course they will have the power of voice. I have the power of voice here, but I shall still lose the vote, unless something goes dramatically wrong. I can still argue for what I think is right, but at the end of the day a police and crime panel will have no real sanction or power to change what a police and crime commissioner is doing if it believes it to be wrong, apart from the two specific powers that I have mentioned. As will become clear when we debate the next group of amendments, the panel will not even have the power to veto the sacking of a chief constable. The police and crime commissioner will have a completely unfettered power.

The Minister told us that the Government had listened to what the Lords had said, and that a chief constable who was to be sacked would be able to go to the police and crime panel and tell it why the police and crime commissioner was wrong. The panel would not have any power to do anything about it, but the chief constable could make representations to it. That might be a good thing, but it does not alter the fact that a chief constable in that position would have no proper right of appeal. The hon. Gentleman is right in saying that the police and crime panel can say what it thinks, but ultimately it can be ignored by the police and crime commissioner, except in the two specific instances that I have mentioned.