TOMORROW (Thursday), we shall be electing our first county police and crime commissioner (PCC) and the current appointed police authority will be abolished.
There has been much debate on the worth of PCCs. For my part, while November elections are questionable (the 2016 PCC elections will be in May); the concept of having democratic accountability for policing strategy is correct.
While almost no one knows who the current police authority members are, in my experience elected representatives will make sure that they consult and engage with local people.
Police and crime commissioners will bring this democratic accountability to the police. They will have the local knowledge and understanding to set the local force's policing priorities.
They will have the democratic mandate to set the police budget and the Council Tax precept, and they will have the power to hold the chief constable to account for the performance of the force.
Empowering the public is the central theme of this Government's whole police reform programme. The police are a public service and they should serve and respond to local people. This is the reason why I support the introduction of directly-elected police and crime commissioners.
Please rest assured, however, that there is no desire to politicise the police force. The Government has been clear that the long-held principle of operational independence, where those operating in the office of the chief constable are able to make independent decisions on how to use their legitimate coercive powers on behalf of the state, will continue to remain the cornerstone of the British policing model. The commissioners will have no control over operational decisions.
The PCC elections are very important to our local security - please have your say and vote.
JONATHAN DJANOGLY MP
Member of Parliament for Huntingdon