The Office of the Police & Crime Commissioner (OPCC) replaces an unelected QUANGO which was called the Police Authority (PA). The OPCC takes over the governance of the £200million budget and all the other work of the old PA but also has much wider responsibilities.
The Police & Crime Commissioner (PCC) is not part of the police. It is a statutory Office and the individual elected is responsible for reducing crime and making the area they represent safer.
The PCC decides how much council tax people will pay towards community safety services and policing and is personally accountable for all the public money spent. They don’t run the police force on a daily basis but commission policing services from the Chief Constable who is directly employed by the PCC and answerable to them.
In addition to the work of the old Police Authority the PCC also has legal responsibilities to set policing priorities and policy, commission victim support and community safety services as well as instigating and overseeing service improvements, better value for money and greater public transparency for policing and criminal justice.
The way that the Office of the Police & Crime Commissioner has been set up in Staffordshire means it does all those things and yet costs less money to the public purse than the Police Authority it replaces.
Another key difference is the wider influence the PCC has over the ‘totality of services’ which can effect crime reduction and improve community safety across Staffordshire. It’s the first time an individual elected by local people has influence over all public services which are critical to crime fighting and safer communities in the longer term. That influence focused in one place is the best chance ever to get the sector working more collaboratively instead of in silos.
Cutting crime as well as anti-social behaviour, reducing repeat offending and tackling dysfunctional families who blight the lives of communities is what everyone wants. But it can only be done for real if all the public services that need to, work towards the same clear agenda. It’s never happened before but if it can be achieved in Staffordshire it will make a real difference for everyone who lives and works here.
The 41 Police & Crime Commissioners across the UK also have responsibility to ensure each of their areas meet the National Policing Requirement which means they must make sure resources are in place to combat serious cross border crime as well as countering the threat from terrorism.