Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) are set to be back under the spotlight in the coming months and weeks. In addition to this week’s by-election in the West Midlands, following the death of Labour’s Bob Jones, we are approaching the second anniversary of the original PCC elections, which took place in November 2012. At the time, I was managing Clinks’ Safer Future Communities (SFC) project, funded by the Home Office to support local voluntary sector networks in each PCC area to engage with and influence their PCCs. The aim was to ensure that the sector’s local knowledge, expertise and skills could play its part in the new environment.
When we surveyed the local SFC networks in March 2013, we found that 78% felt that the sector had received recognition from their PCC. Two thirds had directly engaged with their PCC, either through a one-to-one meeting, running a public meeting or via telephone and e-mail. However, over half were unsure if the network in their area would be sustained beyond the end of the project, and so there was a clear question as to whether this recognition and engagement would continue.
Clinks’ survey of voluntary sector organisations in the North East, published in April, found that the majority of organisations who responded delivered services which contributed to their PCC’s priorities. However, many respondents felt that they were not provided with the opportunities to use their knowledge and expertise to inform the implementation of police and crime plans.
So, two years on from their election, Clinks wants to look again at the impact that PCCs have had on our sector and the issues we address, and vice-versa. And, as the political parties begin to set out their views on future policing policy in the run up to the general election, what is their vision for delivering joined-up services on the ground? The coalition government introduced PCCs to give local communities more voice on policing and community safety. Labour’s policy is to reform PCCs based on Lord Steven’s independent review which sets out options to give local authorities a greater role in community safety commissioning.
We are launching a short survey to find out what is working and what is acting as a barrier to the voluntary sector’s ability to shape and deliver local services that make communities safer places. Please tell us your organisation’s experiences at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/PCCs2yrson. We will use these responses to put together a set of recommendations for key decision-makers, including PCCs, the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners, the Home Office and political parties in the run up to the general election.
Are you a local organisation working in one or more PCC areas? How well is your PCC engaging with you?
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