Causing much debate about poor voter turnout – around 15% nationally – an election on 15 November 2012 in all 41 police areas ( not London, where the Mayor already acts as Police Commissioner), resulted in the first elected pan-Sussex Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC). Katy Bourne fills a post created under a flagship Conservative policy, enacted under the 2011 Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act. The PCC replaces the now defunct and unelected 17 strong Police Authority. The new role is challenging and requires operational aptitude and the ability to represent over 1m voters across Sussex. To be successful the first commissioner must be an effective voice of the people, and hold the police to account, to:
- Cut crime and deliver an effective and efficient police service within Sussex
- Provide stronger and more transparent accountability of the police, effectively making the police answerable to the communities they serve
- Ensure community priorities are reflected in policing operations in ways which improve visibility, build confidence and improve trust
- Reduce bureaucracy across the wide range of partnerships at local, regional and national level to ensure there is a unified approach to preventing and reducing crime
- Set an annual policing plan which is cost effective
The introduction of Police Crime Commissioners is part of wide ranging reform of policing which includes the formation of new bodies:
The college will be set up to develop professionalism, improve the evidence base for policing and help officers in the fight against crime. It will be an independent body to protect the public interest by enhancing police standards, identifying evidence of what works in policing and sharing best practice among officers. It will provide a range of functions from supporting the education and professional development of staff and officers to setting standards for specialist skills training such as investigation, intelligence and firearms. The current role of ACPO business areas in developing national standards and police practice will also come under the responsibility of the College of Policing.
The National Crime Agency (NCA) will be a powerful new body of operational crime fighters with a clear focus on public protection. The Crime and Courts Bill includes provisions on the NCA, and subject to Parliamentary processes the plan is that it will be fully operational by December 2013. The NCA will be an operational crime fighting agency that will: tackle organised crime; strengthen our borders; fight fraud and cyber crime, protect children and young people. The NCA will tackle serious, organised and complex crime, building on the work of its predecessors, by: pulling together a single national intelligence picture on organised criminals and their activities; having the authority to coordinate and task the national response, prioritising resources according to threat, working with law enforcement partners to ensure that those who commit serious and organised crime are pursued and brought to justice, their groups and activities disrupted, and their criminal gains seized.
A new company has been created to provide vital support to police forces in their drive for operational effectiveness and value for money. Technology and information are two of the most important weapons used by the police in their fight against crime. How they buy and manage complex information communications technology (ICT) provisions is critical to their success. The Police ICT Company Ltd has now been incorporated as a company limited by guarantee, under the joint ownership of the association of police authorities and Home Office. These are interim arrangements that have been put in place until the intended owners, the Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs), are elected and able to take the company forward. This will ensure momentum for the company continues and that policing partners (through the board of directors) can lead with shaping and developing the company further. The new company will be responsible for the procurement, implementation and management of ICT solutions and associated business change.