Posted on 22nd August 2011
Derbyshire Police Authority has issued the following statement in response to Home Secretary Theresa May’s recent criticism of the role of police authorities in dealing with the aftermath of the rioting ahead of the introduction of Police Crime Commissioners.
Philip Hickson, chairman of Derbyshire Police Authority, said: “If the widespread disturbances of last week are meant to strengthen the case for the introduction of Police Crime Commissioners then the benefits in our view are clearly few and far between.
“If any lessons are to be learnt from the chaotic scenes on Britain’s streets it is surely that the public rate police officer posts and manpower as far more important components of their protection than new, untried and costly government arrangements.
“At a time when police forces are already facing unprecedented financial difficulties, the Government seems determined to pursue changes which are not only unproven but for which the appointment and election process alone will cost the taxpayer £50m. The launch of Police Crime Commissioners in Britain will draw vital funds away from the public purse which would obviously be better spent invested in the kind of resources which will keep people safe at times of major threat and unrest.
“The notion that police authorities are invisible and ineffective is highly inaccurate and dismisses all of the work they have achieved over the years to make our communities safer and bring the police closer to the public they represent. The reality is that the challenges we have set and the critical eye we have cast over the force has helped drive forward the improvements and performance that has made Derbyshire Constabulary what it is today and I have no doubt that these very firm foundations will be relied heavily upon by the new PCC.
“Reform by its very definition is meant to improve and enhance. In our view, such far-reaching change is being implemented at the wrong time when police forces should instead be focusing on the issues at hand whether that is organised violence, the London 2012 Olympics, or budget constraints. This risky strategy, which is opposed by both the public and police chiefs alike, can only result in regression.
“With such anxiety and concern prevalent within our communities at the current time brought on by economic pressures and the recent riots, the public needs stability and an approach that is both familiar and effective. There is absolutely no evidence that PCCs will increase trust and confidence in policing among the public. On the contrary, they run the real risk of undermining it further.”
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