Chief Constables and Police Commissioners or versus police commissioners.

The “Declaration of Acceptance of Office” in various forms requires individual police and crime commissioners/ police and fire and crime commissioners (4) / mayors (3) to support the public interest in the prosecution of crime and protection of the public.

With variations, the expectation is that there will be a re-election every four years, there is no limit to the number of terms an individual can serve.

The interest of the individual PCC may well be to get re-elected to a post which comes with the salary of: £58k-£86k, force-size dependent.

The chief constable’s job, salary and pension essentially fall under the influence of the police and crime commissioner. We recently saw how the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, apparently “lost confidence in” Dame Cressida Dick, the Metropolitan police commissioner in her role. That issue resulted in her resignation.

Police commissioners belong to political parties. There is therefore some worry, expressed in the declaration of acceptance of office, that they should follow public interest rather than their party political interest (or their personal interest!) Police commissioners come from a range of different backgrounds, in many cases with exactly no experience of policing.

Chief constables come from backgrounds of policing, and most usually with many years of experience of policing.

However, as can be seen from above, the interest(s) of the commissioner may well conflict with the interest of a chief constable. The effect of this may well be to “impose” the commissioner’s re-election agenda over the Chief Constable’s “policing knowledge”.

Another police and crime commissioner appointed a new chief of his fire service. Rather stupidly, whatever the appointee’s skill base, they had no knowledge of the Fire Service. I believe they lasted 10 days in post! The police and crime commissioner was fortunately very recently also not re-elected!