Who should be responsible for overseeing the West Midlands Police budget – £547m worth of local and national taxes?
The first election of Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) heralds the biggest shake-up of policing for almost 50 years. The core functions of the West Midlands PCC, who will take up office in just over 7 weeks’ time after the 15th November elections, include responsibility for a police and crime plan and the allocation of police funding across Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall and Wolverhampton.
The successful candidate has one week before s/he takes office. The only candidate with the strategic, multi-agency experience necessary to work effectively at this level of policing in the county is Bob Jones.
Government has no strategy to cut crime
Bob has served locally and nationally as chair of both the West Midlands Police Authority and the Association of Police Authorities. In securing these posts, he received cross-party support because of his non-partisan stance on policing and his defence of victims’ rights. But Bob says:
In just two years, the Government has taken police numbers back by nearly a decade, weakened police powers, undermined morale, weakening the police’s ability to fight crime.
You can’t trust the Conservatives with our police. They have no strategy to cut crime, only to cut officers. If a Conservative PCC is elected, more criminals will go unpunished.
Bob’s election promises
- keep police community support officers (PCSOs) and the support they give to local people and the police
- protect neighbourhood policing teams, which he played a key role in introducing, to keep our local communities free from crime
- keep politics out of policing by not interfering with the Chief Constable’s operational decisions, while also holding the Chief Constable to proper account
- fight the privatisation of the police to ensure they are accountable to the community, not to company shareholders, and prevent any repeat of the G4S Olympics fiasco
Other key functions of the PCC will be to secure and maintain an efficient and effective police force, hold the Chief Constable to account for delivery of the police and crime plan, and decide the level of the local police ‘precept’ – the part of the council tax that goes to policing. The police budget is made up of the Home Office grant and the precept.
You can read Bob’s full candidate statement here.
The West Midlands Police Authority, the existing body that holds West Midlands Police to account until the PCC takes office on 22 November, is running a website giving information about the introduction of PCCs.
There’s also a BBC Q&A page on PCCs.