The Police and Crime Commissioner for South Yorkshire, Dr Alan Billings, has welcomed today’s statement on the findings from Part One of the Government’s Review of Police and Crime Commissioners.
Like many police and crime commissioners (PCCs) in the country, Dr Billings and his office contributed submissions to the first part of the Government’s review on how improvements could be made.
Dr Billings said: “The review will see changes in a number of areas for the role of police and crime commissioners.
“I firmly agree that all PCCs should be required to make their decision-making clear to the public they serve, as I do already in South Yorkshire.
“Here the public and the media have access to performance information from the force through my monthly Public Accountability Board meetings.
“We receive regular and full reports from each District commander in turn – Sheffield, Rotherham, Doncaster and Barnsley- and reports on each of the priorities I set for the force – Protecting Vulnerable People, Tackling Crime and Anti-Social Behaviour and Treating People Fairly.
“Members of the public are invited to attend and participate by submitting questions to the Senior Command Team and to me. The meetings are recorded and available to watch on the website. The media also come and inform the public on what takes place.
“I also welcome the recommendation to allow more effective and consistent relationships between PCCs and chief constables. This will better clarify the roles and responsibilities and improve how we work together, nationally. Locally, I already have an excellent working relationship with Chief Constable Stephen Watson and I believe that improvements can only further support this.
“Some areas have a deputy PCC. I haven’t appointed one up to now. I have used the funding saved to give more resources to the force. However, if I return as PCC after the election in May I will clearly have to consider that.”
Part Two of the review will look to publicly consult about whether to mandate Fire and Rescue Authority functions to PCCs in England and will form part of a White Paper, to launch later in the year.
In South Yorkshire we have already made significant progress in bringing police and Fire together to bring about greater efficiency and effectiveness. In 2017 Dr Billings became a voting member of the Fire and Rescue Authority and in 2018 he commissioned an appraisal of what benefits might follow should PCCs be asked to take on fire governance.
He also chairs a Police and Fire Collaboration Board which brings the two services together to work collaboratively in the areas of Community Safety and Fleet Management of vehicles. These joint operations have saved money and brought about efficiencies.
Dr Billings added: “I believe the public want to see the two emergency services work closely together and what we are already doing in South Yorkshire puts us in a good place whatever we are asked to do in the future.”