THE QUESTION: Are Police and Crime Commissioners giving us our money's worth in their current form?
THE ANSWER: Up until 2011 the various Police Forces around England and Wales were held to account by 43 regional Police Authorities. These comprised a mixture of County Councillors and Magistrates, each claiming in the region of £10,000 per annum in allowances. The then Cameron/Clegg coalition decided that the Electorate should have more of a say, and thus the role of Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) was formed.
PCCs were to be extremely powerful individuals who would set policing policies and priorities as well as hiring, and occasionally firing, Chief Constables. The salary offered was around £65,000, which appears a lot, but was justified on the basis that many Police Authorities consisted of 10 - 15 members, each pocketing £10,000. Apparently good value then, unless we include the various Deputy PCCs and, of course, the retinue of support staff.