Commissioner's reaction to Lord Stevens report on Policing

26th November 2013

The Commission calls for greater clarity over the broader social mission for the police and recommends that it should be enshrined in law.

Lord Stevens has called the PCC model flawed as a method of democratic governance and made a number of recommendations for the future of policing.

The report also outlines a range of options for enhancing local democratic accountability.

The Commission want to see the abolition of HMIC and the IPCC in favour of a new body to oversee standards and complaints. Lords Stevens also calls for a local policing commitment to ensure consistent standards of neighbourhood policing nationally.

Commenting on the report, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Gwent, Ian Johnston, said: "Lord Stevens has a long and illustrious history in Policing and we welcome the report. We would agree generally with the comments about neighbourhood policing, the importance of it and also the importance of building relationships with local communities - that's something we wholeheartedly support here in Gwent. What we have been working on for the last year is to enhance the responsiveness of the Force to meet the needs of local people and victims of crime in Gwent.

Among the options put forward is the creation of a National Police Service. This would either consist of a new service called Police England and Wales or two separate forces - Police England and Police Wales.

"With regards to comments about the creation of one National Police Force for Wales, I believe the strength of policing in Wales is in its local delivery and to take this away would be a backward step," says Mr Johnston.

"The Silk commission will address the issue of devolution but whether or not devolution of policing will naturally lead to the creation of one Police Force in Wales is a big question that will need careful consideration. As I have stated before, to support any kind of devolution, it would need to better than the system we have now.

We agree with the recommendation of creating more effective partnerships in order to prevent crime and reduce harm in our communities. However, we disagree with the comments that the PCC model is systematically flawed as a method of democratic governance. I believe the role has provided more of a voice for local people for the first time where setting the policing priorities for their areas are concerned.

The principal form of democratic accountability that underpins PCCs is sound and needs protecting. I realise that the report was commissioned by the Labour Party but personally I would have liked to have seen more cross party involvement."