Today, (Wednesday 22 July 2020) the Home Secretary, Priti Patel announced a review into the role of Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs).
South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Dr Alan Billings has welcomed the review.
Dr Billings said: “The role of the Police and Crime Commissioner is still relatively new. The Home Secretary makes it clear that PCCs are here to stay but their role needs to be better understood by the public.
“This is a good moment to review the role and I welcome the review.
“As PCC my job is first to pass on to the police what the public want from them – which is why I produce each year a Police and Crime Plan setting out priorities for the police that reflect what local people tell me.
“Second, I hold the police to account against those priorities while also supporting them in their work of keeping us safe.
“Some policing priorities could be determined nationally, we all want crime reduced, but others will be determined locally. In South Yorkshire, for example, we have a mix of urban and rural communities which have some different needs – As PCC I must keep my ear to the ground to pick up these different concerns.
“From time to time we have particular issues that need dealing with which is why last year I set up a Violence Reduction Unit for South Yorkshire to bring down all forms of violence and especially those involving knives.
“It is important that people know and see what I do, which is why I visit as many groups as I can, publicise what I do, and also once each month hold a public meeting when I formally hold the Chief Constable to account. The media are always present at this meeting of the Public Accountability Board.
“The Government want the role to be strengthened and expanded. One obvious area for this to happen is across the criminal justice system more widely.
“PCCs have shown during the present coronavirus crisis the vital role they can play in bringing together all those agencies involved to ensure that the system works effectively despite the restrictions of social distancing and home working. I have been holding fortnightly meetings with the courts, the Crown Prosecution Service, the police, the prisons, probation, witness and victims’ services to work better together.
“The Chief Constable and I have a good working relationship that enables me to ask him searching question on behalf of the public in the knowledge that I will support our police in driving down crime, tackling anti-social behaviour, protecting vulnerable people, treating victims well and keeping us safe.”