One Year Until Introduction of Police and Crime Commissioner
Elections for the role will take place on 15 November 2012 with the elected Commissioner beginning their role on 22 November 2012. The introductions of Commissioners in each Force area will see a radical change to the oversight of policing in Wales and England.
This Commissioner or PCC as they are also referred to, will be responsible for representing everyone in Gwent and making sure the service provided by the Police is of the highest standard.
Gwent Police Authority Chief Executive Shelley Bosson commented:
"The introduction of Commissioners is a major change to the governance of policing, and the Commissioner will have an important and influential role. The change will affect everyone in Gwent as the new Commissioner's responsibility is to make sure that Gwent has an effective and efficient police service. The Commissioner will also hold the Chief Constable to account.
"The Commissioner's responsibilities are wider ranging and will include setting local policing priorities, managing the Force budget, setting the police element of council tax, and the Commissioner will also have the ability to hire and fire the Chief Constable. They will also ensure that the needs of victims of crime are at the centre of their agenda. For this role, they will receive a salary of around £70,000 each year."
The elected commissioner will be held to account for their performance at the ballot box every four years. The Commissioner will be scrutinised by a Police and Crime Panel, to be made up of Councillors and Independent Members. This Panel, where appropriate, will have the duty to comment on the Commissioner's Chief Constable appointment and other senior appointments to the Commissioners office, and to veto Commissioner's police precept level.
Shelley Bosson added:
"The situation in Wales in regards to the panels is different from England and they will be free standing panels established by the Home Secretary. How this will work in practice is currently being worked through with the relevant parties.
"There are a number of imponderables with the new system and much of the detail about how this will all work will be left to the local discretion of the Commissioner when they take office in November 2012.
"We are working with our colleagues in the Home Office, Welsh Government and the Welsh Local Government Association to ensure that there is a smooth transition to the new arrangements.
"My hope is that the changes will not impact the tremendous work the Chief and her team are doing to ensure that Gwent remains a safe place.
"At the moment crime is being driven down across Gwent. Since the Government's new crime recording standards were introduced in 2002-03 Gwent Police Authority has overseen a fall in crimes from 61203 in 2002-03 to 45566 in 2010-11, which is 15637 fewer victims.
"This has been as a result of the excellent work of police officers, staff and partners across Force, but also because of the tough targets the Authority have set the Chief Constable and her Chief Officer team. Crime in Gwent is falling and we want to make sure this trend continues when the Commissioner is elected in 12 months."
With one year to go, work in Gwent is well underway to ensure that there is a smooth transition to the new regime. The focus of this work is on ensuring that the public will continue to receive an excellent and efficient service from the police during these changing and financially challenging times.