Each of the 41 police forces in England & Wales, outside of London, have directly elected a Police and Crime Commissioner who is responsible for:
- Working with Chief Constables to set the direction for policing and holding them to account for delivery of policing within local communities. A Police and Crime Commissioner does not manage the force on a day-to-day basis nor are they directly responsible for police operations
- Deciding policing strategy and the force budget
- They set the local council tax precept. Working with local authorities, community safety partnerships and local criminal justice boards
- Addressing national issues as well as local concerns
- Commissioning services to meet the needs of victims
- Taking a holistic approach to community safety which brings in the services of all agencies which have a contribution to make to keeping local communities safe
Commissioners are single elected individuals who take executive decisions, supported by a highly qualified team. The principle of one accountable individual, directly responsible for the totality of police force activity is core to the role.
The buck stops with commissioners, and the public will cast judgment at the ballot box, voting out commissioners who do not cut crime or address local concerns. Police and Crime Commissioners do not have day-to-day control over operational policing - they aren't be able to tell a sworn officer of the crown who to arrest.