Below are frequently asked questions and their answers regarding the election of Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs). Further questions will be published on this page as they come in.
What is changing?
When is this happening?
What will happen to the Police Authority?
What will happen to Police Authority Staff?
Is this a political appointment?
Who can stand for election?
Can current members of the Police Authority stand for election as a PCC?
Will former Police Officers be eligable to be PCCs?
How can I formally put forward candidacy for the position of elected PCC?
Who organises the election?
Who is paying for the election?
Who can vote?
What will the PCC do?
What powers will a PCC have?
How much will the PCC be paid?
Is the PCC a full time job?
What is being done to prepare for transition?
What sort of support team will the PCC have?
If the PCC holds the Chief Constable to account, who oversees the work of the PCC?
What will happen to Police Staff contracts?
What difference will it make to Police Officers?
What will happen to buildings and assets?
What difference will the change make to the Chief Constable?
Will it make a difference to partnership working?
Will this change the approach to collaboration?
Q1 What is changing?
The Police Authority is being replaced by a directly-elected Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC).
Q2 When is this happening?
The elections for your PCC will take place on 15 November 2012. The successful candidate will take up the role on 22 November 2012.
Q3 What will happen to the Police Authority?
Derbyshire Police Authority will hand over policing governance to the Commissioner. It will cease to exist at midnight 21 November 2012.
Q4 What will happen to Police Authority staff?
The current Police Authority staff will transfer to the office of the PCC on 22 November 2012 as part of a statutory transfer under an Act of Parliament.
Q5 Is this a political appointment?
Independent candidates can also stand for election, but all candidates must provide a £5000 deposit and 100 signatures of support. The deposit will be returned to them on condition that they poll more than 1000 votes. It is unlikely that the political candidates will be known until mid-June but all candidates have until 19 October to declare their intentions to stand.
Q6 Who can stand for election?
Anyone can stand for election as a PCC providing:
- they are 18 or over
- they are a British, Commonwealth or EU citizen
- they are registered to vote in the force area in which they wish to stand
- they have not been convicted of an imprisonable offence
- they are not a serving: civil servant, judge, police officer, member of the regular armed forces, employee of a council within the force area, employee of a police related agency, employee of another government agency, politically restricted post-holder, member of police staff (including PCSOs) or member of a Police Authority. MEPs and MPs may stand, but will need to stand down from their existing post before being able to accept the Commissioner post.
The political parties are currently deciding who will be their candidates in each area.
For anyone wanting to know more about what it means to be a PCC, please see the Home Office's information booklet for candidates 'Have You Got What It Takes?'http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/police/pcc/have-got-what-takes/got-what-it-takes
Or visit the Police and Crime Commissioners section on the Home Office website. http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/police/police-crime-commissioners/
Q7 Can current members of the Police Authority stand for election as a PCC?
Current Members of the Police Authority can not stand as a PCC. However, the legislation is written in such a way that they may not be a member of the Police Authority when they are formally nominated. This would mean any Member of the Authority could stand but would need to stand down from the Authority when they sign the formal electoral nomination (which is likely to be in early October). The reality is that any Police Authority Member can choose to stand but would have to leave the Authority by the time they sign.
Q8 Will former police officers be eligible to be PCCs?
In short the answer is a serving police officer is not eligible to stand for election due to the following:
The case law has established that provisions that disqualify a person ‘for being elected to’ apply at the point of nomination, and the reasoning behind the different case conclusions albeit at different sort of elections will probably apply to the PCC elections.
Section 64 of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 provides that a person is disqualified from being elected to the office of police and crime commissioner unless that person has attained the age of 18 when nominated as a candidate, and on each relevant day the person is on the local government register. ‘Relevant day’ is defined as being the day of nomination and the day of the poll. The provisions regarding disqualification at section 64 therefore apply at the point of nomination.
However, Sections 65-66 disqualify a person ‘from being elected as, or being, a police and crime commissioner…’ and, without the reference to the day of nomination, it is not immediately clear whether Sections 65-66 apply on nomination or at the point where the candidate is declared as elected.
In Harford v Linskey 1899 the court considered the meaning of the words 'a person shall be disqualified for being elected and for being a councillor' under Section 12 of the Municipal Corporations Act 1882, and found that the disqualification applied at nomination as well as at election. To quote from the judgement:-.
“The nomination is for this purpose an essential part of the election, and if there are no competitors it of itself constitutes the election by virtue of the express words of s. 56. A different construction might produce much confusion. On the nomination day no one could know whether the persons nominated will at the poll be effective candidates or not. It is true that in the case put the disqualification may be removed before the election is completed; but what is to be the effect if the disqualification continues until the poll begins, or until the middle of the polling day, or until the close of the poll? Will votes given before the removal of the disqualification be valid? If not, how is the number of them to be ascertained? It seems to us unreasonable to hold that the Act means to leave the matter in such a state of uncertainty, and for these reasons we think that this petitioner was disqualified for nomination or election. It is not necessary to say whether the same conclusion would follow if the disqualification was such as must necessarily cease at a time between nomination and poll, as, for instance, if a person were nominated on the last day of his minority for a poll to take place on a future day. WRIGHT J.
This approach has been confirmed by courts considering legislation that uses the same or very similar wording, including most recently in the 2006 Brent election petition, which considered the meaning of Section 80 of the Local Government Act 1972. Section 80 (1)(a) provides that a person shall be ‘disqualified for being elected or being a member of a local authority if he…’
The court found that the disqualification provisions under Section 80 of the LGA 1972 must be read together with the date on which the qualification provisions under Section 79 apply (which are expressly stated to be on the date of nomination as well as the day of the poll). Therefore, the correct interpretation of the wording of Section 80 is that it disqualifies a person if, on the day of nomination and on the day of the poll, any of the disqualification criteria are met.
Although the legislation is slightly differently worded, the same principle would apply to the PRSR Act 2011, where Sections 65-66 should be read together with Section 64, which is stated to apply on the day of nomination.
Current timeframe is that nominations will have to be with the Police Area Returning Officer (PARO) mid October. So the PARO would expect that any Police Officer or HPA member or any other disqualified person wishing to stand would stand down before they give their nomination.
Q9 How can I formally put forward candidacy for the position of elected PCC?
Formal nominations will not take place for several months. Our website will contain details once formally announced, but we believe it is likely to be early October.
A deposit of £5,000 together with 100 signatures is required and there will be agent briefing days, following the period for formal nominations.
The Police Area Returning Officer has been appointed, Peter Carney, who is Chief Executive of Amber Valley Borough Council.
Q10 Who organises the election?
The elections will be run by local returning officers (LROs) in each local authority, with police area returning officers (PAROs) coordinating across each force area. Both LROs and PAROs are independent officers from both central and local government.
Q11 Who is paying for the election?
The elections will be paid for by the Home Office and will not come from funds that would otherwise have gone to forces.
Q12 Who can Vote?
Anyone on the electoral register who is over the age of 18 and who lives in and is included on the electoral register in Derbyshire.
Q13 What will the PCC do?
The Commissioner will have a statutory duty and electoral mandate to hold the police to account on behalf of Derbyshire residents.
The main duties of the PCC will be to:
- hold the Chief Constable to account on behalf of the people of Derbyshire;
- secure the effectiveness and efficiency of Derbyshire Constabulary;
- decide the budget, allocate assets and funds to the Chief Constable;
- set the amount of council tax paid towards policing in Derbyshire;
- set the strategic direction and objectives of the force through the Police and Crime Plan,
- have regard to the Strategic Policing Requirement set by the Home Secretary;
- prepare and issue an annual report on the PCC’s delivery against the objectives set within the Plan;
- publish information to enable people to assess the performance of the PCC and Chief Constable;
- monitor all complaints made against officers and staff, whilst having responsibility for complaints against the Chief Constable; and
- appoint the Chief Constable.
However, the Commissioner’s role is wider than that of the current Police Authority and will also include:
- a specific responsibility for the delivery of community safety and crime reduction;
- the ability to bring together Community Safety Partnerships at the force level;
- the ability to make crime and disorder reduction grants within their force area;
- a duty to ensure that all collaboration agreements with other Local Policing Bodies and forces deliver better value for money or enhance the effectiveness of policing capabilities and resilience;
- a wider responsibility for the enhancement of the delivery of criminal justice in their area.
Q14 What powers will a PCC have?
PCCs will appoint (and will be able to dismiss) chief constables, although the chief constable will appoint all other officers within the force
- The PCC will, shortly after their election, set out a five-year police and crime plan (the plan), although it may be refreshed each year and may be fully reopened at the PCC's discretion
- PCCs will be required to determine local policing priorities, publish the plan, set a local precept and set the annual force budget (including contingency reserves) in consultation with chief constables. The plan will need to take account of national policing challenges, set out in a new 'Strategic Policing Requirement'
- PCCs will receive the policing grant from the Home Office, various grants from Department for Communities and Local Government and the local precept (as well as other funding streams yet to be determined)
- The PCC will commission policing services from the chief constable (or other providers - in consultation with the chief constable). These services shall be set out in the plan where their objectives and funding will be publicly disclosed
- The plan must be published and remain a public document including any updates or amendments made during the five-year period
- At the end of the financial year the PCC will publish an annual report which will set out progress made by the PCC against the objectives set out in the plan
- Alongside the annual report the PCC will publish annual financial accounts, including showing how resources were consumed in respect of priorities and how value for money was secured
- PCCs will also have a general duty to regularly consult and involve the public and have regard to the local authority priorities
- PCCs will be able to require a report from chief constables at any time about the execution of their functions
- The local precept will be subject to the same referendum requirements as local government (triggered on rises which exceed thresholds set by government)
Q15 How much will the PCC be paid?
The salary for the Derbyshire PCC will be £75,000 p.a. This is the amount recommended by the Senior Salaries Review Body and approved by the Home Secretary.
Q16 Is the PCC a full-time job?
Each PCC will set their own working hours.
Q17 What is being done to prepare for transition?
A dedicated transition project team has been in place for some time and work began many months ago to ensure that the Authority would be in the best position possible to hand over the reins.
A Transition Board has been set up with representatives from the Authority, the Force, local Councils and other partners. The Board provides strategic oversight of the transition, manages the various workstreams and reviews progress.
It will also ensure that information for potential PCC candidates is accessible, organise the transfer of staff and assets to the PCC and work with the County Council to set up a Police and Crime Panel.
The Board has established a Transition Project Group which is responsible for delivering the work plan.
Q18 What sort of support team will the PCC have?
PCCs will be required to appoint a head of paid staff and a chief financial officer. The head of paid staff will be responsible for employing the administrative staff and for acting as monitoring officer for the PCC. The chief financial officer will be responsible for advising the PCC about their financial obligations and the impact of their spending decisions.
The PCC may appoint other staff, but all employees will be politically restricted and appointed on merit. A PCC can appoint a deputy who does not need to be politically restricted.
The PCC is required to publish organisational charts and salaries of all staff.
Each of the 41 police force areas in England and Wales, outside of London, will directly-elect a Commissioner on 15 November 2012.
In London the Mayor is responsible for supervising the Met Police and the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) has already been replaced by the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPC).
The MOPC is headed by the Mayor or, by his nomination, the appointed statutory Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime. This means that the Mayor is directly accountable for policing performance in London. Operational policing will however remain the responsibility of the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Bernard Hogan-Howe.
Q19 If the PCC holds the Chief Constable to account, who oversees the work of the PCC?
A Police and Crime Panel will be appointed to hold the PCC to account. The Panel will have a minimum of twelve and up to twenty members and will include representatives from each local authority and independent members.
The Panel will review the Commissioner’s police and crime plan and annual report. The panel will have the power to veto the commissioner’s choice of Chief Constable and the policing element of the council tax, subject to a two-thirds majority agreement.
Q20 What will happen to police staff contracts?
At present all police staff are employed by the Police Authority. Their contracts will be transferred in two stages. On 22 November 2012 ALL police staff will transfer to the PCC as part of a statutory transfer. The PCC will then have until April 2014 to decide which police staff will transfer to the Chief Constable as part of a second stage transfer. The transfer arrangements will be made in consultation with the Chief Constable and approved by the Home Secretary.
For the first time, the Chief Constable will employ staff directly.
Please see the letter from the Rt. Hon Damien Green MP, Minister of State for Policing and Criminal Justice, regarding the second stage of transfers which will take place by 1 April 2014. To open the letter click on the icon on the right hand side of the page entitled 'Stage 2 Transfer - Policing Minister' or click here
Q21 What difference will it make to police officers?
Police Officers will remain officers of the Crown, working under the direction and control of the Chief Constable.
Q22 What will happen to buildings and assets?
All buildings, land, vehicles and other assets will transfer from the Police Authority to the PCC on 22 November. Liabilities, such as outstanding claims, will also be transferred.
Q23 What difference will the change make to the Chief Constable?
The Chief Constable will still be accountable to the law for the exercise of police powers and will retain direction and control over police officers, but will employ police staff. The Chief Constable will be accountable to the PCC for the delivery of efficient and effective policing, management of resources and spending. He (or she) will be politically independent of the PCC but must allow the PCC to have access to all necessary information and staff in the force.
Q24 Will it make a difference to partnership working?
PCCs have wider responsibilities than those relating to the police force. They will have a specific responsibility for the delivery of community safety. They will hold the budgets for, and be able to make, grants for measures to tackle crime and disorder and will commission these services from partners, the private or voluntary sector. PCCs will also have a wider responsibility for the enhancement of the delivery of criminal justice.
In order to minimise bureaucracy and prevent disruption to programmes, Ministers have decided that existing arrangements for community safety and partnership funding will continue during 2012-13, but will be provided to PCCs from 2013-14.
Q25 Will this change the approach to collaboration?
PCCs will be able to take part in collaboration agreements, as police authorities currently can, but there will no longer be a requirement for these to form separate agreements from those between their chief constables. Other bodies (such as local authorities) will also be able to be part of collaboration agreements. PCCs will be required to make joint arrangements for holding chief constables to account under collaboration agreements
Existing collaboration projects will transfer from the Police Authority to the PCC. PCCs and forces will be required to take account of existing collaboration arrangements, consistency of approach and scale of opportunity when making collaboration decisions.
The Home Secretary will no longer require to be notified for collaborations of more than six forces/PCCs.