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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

There are a number of possible examples. Let me give the hon. Gentleman one of them. If an election is approaching and a chief constable is refusing to follow the priorities on which someone intends to stand, what would prevent that person from saying to the chief constable, “Unless you announce that you will introduce neighbourhood policing, put bobbies on the beat and keep this police station open, all of which I will include in my manifesto, I will sack you”? There is no power for anyone to stop a police and crime commissioner from doing that to a chief constable.

I know that the hon. Gentleman takes a keen interest in this matter, and I know that he would be as anxious about such circumstances as I would be. He may think that they will never arise, but he and I both know that many situations arise that were not predicted. I should have thought that any Government would want at least to include a provision ensuring that police and crime commissioners did not have an unfettered power, but as the Bill stands it is completely unfettered.