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Clause 1 — Police and crime commissioners

Part of Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill – in the House of Commons at 6:15 pm on 12th September 2011.

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Photo of David Ruffley David Ruffley Conservative, Bury St Edmunds 6:15 pm, 12th September 2011

Even in Bury St Edmunds, I dare say. Let me repeat the other statistic, because it is quite shocking. Fewer than one in eight uniformed officers are available to respond to the public visibly. That includes not only response units going around the streets but also those handling such calls—the visible availability. There must be a better way of asking any chief constable searching questions about why that is happening on their patch or police force area.

I conclude by saying that police authorities have had many years to ask some of those difficult questions, but those two statistics, shocking as they are, represented the situation in July 2011. The police authorities have had their fair crack but they have not been able to squeeze the efficiencies and to ask the difficult questions that they should have. It is time for them to move over and for the police and crime commissioners to have a crack and see whether they can do better. It is in that spirit of cheerful optimism that I support the amendments moved by my right hon. Friend the Minister.