MP heralds "new era of policing " in Sussex
Arundel and South Downs MP Nick Herbert has heralded "a new era in policing" when local people will elect a Police and Crime Commissioner for Sussex in a year's time.
The Minister for Policing and Criminal Justice was speaking at a seminar organised by Sussex Police Authority last Friday (18 November) at Slaugham Manor.
Elected Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs), who will replace existing police authorities, will hold the police to account, set the police budget and plan, and appoint the Chief Constable.
The seminar included representatives from Sussex Police, local authorities, community safety and criminal justice partnerships. The theme was "Police and Crime - Accountability in Partnership", and the event aimed to prepare Sussex for the transition to Police and Crime Commissioners.
The session included presentations by Sussex Police Authority Chairman, Steve Waight, Prof Peter Squires of Brighton University, Becky Shaw, Chief Executive of East Sussex County Council, and Assistant Chief Constable Olivia Pinkney.
Mr Herbert said that he believed that PCCs would drive value for money, reduce bureaucracy and protect the frontline, because they would know that this is what the public who elect them wants.
He said that the Government would, however, be publishing a Strategic Policing Requirement to ensure that forces were able to meet national threat, and also a Protocol to protect the operational independence of Chief Constables.
Mr Herbert's key message was that crime was fought effectively through strong partnerships with police, local authorities and other bodies. New Police and Crime Panels would scrutinise Police and Crime Commissioners and would give a role for District Councils in the governance of policing for the first time.
Mr Herbert concluded by issuing a clarion call for good candidates to come forward. He said that the Government hoped that dynamic leaders, community champions, pioneers and entrepreneurs would consider standing for this office.
Candidates could have experience in the private, voluntary or public sector. The Government wanted people from all backgrounds, who can bring new perspectives to a service that hasn't always represented the communities it polices.
Nick Herbert commented: "The new Police and Crime Commissioner will need to be an outstanding leader for Sussex. They will be a hugely important figure in our community. This is a real opportunity for a dynamic and driven individual to step forward.
"We need people of real calibre who have built or led organisations and who are committed to public service to step forward. Candidates don't have to be politicians to stand - they can be independent of political parties. This is a big job for a big figure."
Mr Herbert also praised Sussex Police Authority for initiating the seminar and for taking a responsible attitude towards the new reform.
Steve Waight, Chairman of Sussex Police Authority, said: "This event was an opportunity for local authorities and other criminal justice organisations across Sussex to hear how the introduction of a Police and Crime Commissioner will really affect them. They were able to understand what it will mean for Sussex and how they can prepare for the election in November 2012 and beyond.
"Having the author of this very policy, Nick Herbert MP, at the event really gave delegates the chance to ask the questions that matter to them and to the communities they represent. The Minister's words were timely and honest and along with our other speakers provided an invaluable perspective on the policy.
"The Minister was glowing in his appraisal of the event and obvious leadership and commitment being shown in Sussex to ensure a smooth and efficient transition from Police Authority to Police and Crime Commissioner and we will continue to do this over the next 12 to 18 months."
Notes to Editors
1. More information about the requirements for Police and Crime Commissioners can be found here: http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/police/police-crime-commissioners/