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Police and Crime Commissioners

Oral Answers to Questions — Home Department – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 12th December 2011.

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Photo of Michael Ellis Michael Ellis Conservative, Northampton North 2:30 pm, 12th December 2011

What recent progress she has made on the introduction of police and crime commissioners.

Photo of Theresa May Theresa May Minister for Women and Equalities, The Secretary of State for the Home Department

The first PCC elections will take place on 15 November 2012. I recently tabled a protocol setting out how the new policing governance arrangements will work and issued the shadow strategic policing requirement, which sets out the national threats that the police must address. Subject to parliamentary approval, London will move to the new PCC model in January.

Photo of Michael Ellis Michael Ellis Conservative, Northampton North

I congratulate the Home Secretary on her achievement in this flagship legislation and on the fact that in a year’s time PCCs will be rolled out across the country. What steps can the Government take to ensure that prospective candidates for this important position will come from a wide diversity of backgrounds?

Photo of Theresa May Theresa May Minister for Women and Equalities, The Secretary of State for the Home Department

I thank my hon. Friend for his comments. I add to his congratulations the name of my right hon. Friend the Policing Minister, who played a significant role in ensuring that the legislation was steered through Parliament for it to be in place in September. I am keen to ensure that we have a diversity of candidates. We are now looking into a number of ways in which we can promote an understanding of the role of the police and crime commissioners. My right hon. Friend marked the one year to go to PCCs on 21 November with a speech on a new era in policing. We will be publishing a consultation, setting out proposals that PCCs act as commissioners for victim support services.

Photo of Tony Lloyd Tony Lloyd Labour, Manchester Central

Given that the Home Secretary has made it clear that she wants police commissioners to have authority with respect not just to policing but to the criminal justice system, will she heed the important advice of the Association of Chief Police Officers that antisocial behaviour orders should still be part of the things at the disposal of police commissioners, the police and the criminal justice system?

Photo of Theresa May Theresa May Minister for Women and Equalities, The Secretary of State for the Home Department

I note the rather clever way in which the hon. Gentleman weaved the antisocial behaviour order into that question. As he knows, we consulted on replacing the current regime of ASBOs with a new regime that is clearer, less bureaucratic and easier to use. We will be introducing legislation in due course.

Photo of Tom Brake Tom Brake Liberal Democrat, Carshalton and Wallington

One of the key features of the checks and balances that will operate on the police and crime commissioners are the police and crime panels. Will the Home Secretary confirm that the effectiveness of the police and crime panels will not be hindered by arbitrary restrictions such as a lack of access to senior police officers or experts or a budget that is so tight that it will restrict the PCPs’ ability to meet on a regular basis to scrutinise the police and crime commissioners?

Photo of Theresa May Theresa May Minister for Women and Equalities, The Secretary of State for the Home Department

I thank my right hon. Friend for his question. I recognise the interest that he has consistently shown in ensuring that the police and crime panels have the powers necessary to scrutinise the work of the police and crime commissioners. They will be different from police authorities, so their role will not be the same. We have set out clearly the interaction that they should have with the police and crime commissioner and with the chief constable of the police force area. As for budgets, our overall aim is that the new regime will cost no more than police authorities do today.