Police authorities / elected police commissioners
Prior to November 2012, when the former police authorities were abolished, each local police force had an associated police authority. Since November 2012 the arrangements for policing in England and Wales have changed. The duties of the police authorities to direct local policing priorities, with the associated budgets, have been passed to an elected Police and Crime Commissioner. Elected Police Commissioners have power to set strategic policy for local policing, and can hire and fire the local Chief Constable. They have a small secretariat of staff to carry out their functions.
The Commissioner is expected, notwithstanding the fact that they are directly elected, to liaise closely with other local agencies, and to develop the Police and Crime Plan in a consensual manner (this is a legal requirement under section 10 of the Act).
Scrutinising the commissioner will be the Police and Crime Panel (PCP). This is a body most of whose members must be local councillors (at least ten). At least two members must be co-optees, meaning that each PCP will be a minimum of 12 people in size. The largest PCP will have twenty members. Further details on the role and composition of the PCP can be found in this guidance, jointly produced by the CfPS and the LGA.
The detailed powers of the PCP are set out in the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011. They include powers of veto over certain areas of the commissioner's responsibility. The PCP will be expected to support the commissioner in his or her work.
Community safety partnerships
The Crime and Disorder Act 1998 established Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships (CDRPs) in recognition of the fact that local partners need to work together to protect the public from crime. In 2006, the Police and Justice Act established a new framework for holding CDRPs to account through the establishment of crime and disorder scrutiny committees in local authorities. Regulations and guidance were published in 2009. The guidance was co-authored by CfPS and the Local Government Information Unit on behalf of the Home Office, in consultation with local scrutiny practitioners.
In 2011 the Home Office consulted informally to discern whether changes in the regulations were required. No changes were in the end proposed, and the legal position regarding scrutiny of community safety partnerships - including the regulations and guidance - remains.
To find out about the work CfPS is currently undertaking within policing please click here.