Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

Clause 1 — Police and crime commissioners

Part of Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill – in the House of Commons at 9:15 pm on 12th September 2011.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Michael Crockart Michael Crockart Liberal Democrat, Edinburgh West 9:15 pm, 12th September 2011

I will make it very clear that I do not support the hon. Gentleman’s proposal, although there is an outstanding question and some further work is required. Employment law would look on the ability to dismiss someone without an appeal as being dubious at best, so there is possibly a legal aspect to look at. However, when we look at the powers in the Bill on the suspension and removal of chief constables, we see that the situation is not quite as simple as the hon. Gentleman makes out. It is not just a case of the police and crime commissioner wanting to get rid of the chief constable and his being gone the next day. A long, public process—six weeks—is kicked off, involving the panel, notifications and representations.

I do not believe for a second that any police and crime commissioner would set out on such an open and public process without a very strong case for the dismissal of a chief constable. To do so would lay the commissioner open to a very high level of public scrutiny. I cannot see a publicly elected official opening themselves up to that level of scrutiny without sufficient cause. The process that the Bill lays out will effectively stop that situation ever arising.

To conclude, the Bill brings public accountability of the policing function out from the shadows. Community safety, and the fight against crime and disorder, deserve nothing less.