Elections for Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) are taking place this week in England and Wales – but what are they all about?
PCCs play an important role in managing policing in your community, so it is important that you get to have your say on who is elected to the positions. Here’s a look at more about their roles and how you can have your say.
What is the role of PCCs?
Police and crime commissioners have the role of ensuring the policing needs of the communities they represent are met as effectively as possible.
PCCs are not police officers and do not manage day-to-day policing. PCCs are responsible for appointing and holding Chief Constables and their force to account. PCCs typically set force budgets and engage with the public and victims of crime in order to set police and crime objectives.
PCCs are required to swear an oath when they are elected to office to publicly commit to serving all of the people in their police force area, act with integrity and diligence; give the public a voice; act with transparency and not interfere with the operational independence of police officers.
What areas of the country have PCCs?
There are PCCs in each police force area in England and Wales, apart from some exceptions.
The PCC responsibilities for the Metropolitan Police Service, Greater Manchester Police and West Yorkshire Police are carried out by relevant mayors, while the City of London Police area is the responsibility of the Court of the Common Council, rather than individual PCCs.
You can find out about the candidates for your area at www.choosemypcc.org.uk.
My area has a PFCC rather than a PCC – what does this mean?
Four areas in England currently have PFCCs rather than PCCs – these areas are Essex, Staffordshire, Northamptonshire and North Yorkshire.
PFCCs are Police, Fire and Crime Commissioners. Their role is broadly similar to that of PCCs, but they also have responsibility for the fire service. PFCCs appoint the Chief Fire Officer, hold them to account and have the power to dismiss them if necessary.
The elected candidates also set the fire and rescue objectives and ensure budgets are spent effectively.
How do the elections work?
These elections use the supplementary vote electoral system. This means that you’ll be able to indicate a first and second choice on your ballot paper.
If no candidate wins an outright majority of first preference votes, all candidates apart from the top two candidates will be eliminated. If a voter’s first-choice candidate is eliminated but their second-choice candidate is one of the remaining two, their vote is transferred to the second-choice candidate. The candidate with the highest number of votes in the second count is the winner.
Be sure to read the instructions on your ballot paper before voting.