Headlines: August 1st, 2008

Council leaders from all three main political parties have told the Home Secretary they have serious concerns about proposals in the recently published Policing Green Paper to create directly elected police representatives. In a letter to Jacqui Smith they said separate police elections would not strengthen the link between those responsible for delivering policing and local people.

The council leaders also fear the proposals would lead to blame shifting and buck-passing between the police authority and the local authorities in a force area
and could push them in different directions. In the letter the Chairman of the Local Government Association, Sir Simon Milton, and the leaders said, “No-one I have talked to about the Policing Green Paper believes the proposals to introduce directly
elected crime and policing representatives will strengthen police authorities or provide greater accountability over the funding of the police.”

The letter is also critical of the Green Paper’s failure to increase the ability of police authorities to scrutinise budgets, control expenditure or deliver improved efficiency within forces. The letter continues, “In the place of substantive reforms needed
to police authorities” powers and responsibilities we have tinkering with their membership”

The letter also points out to the Home Secretary that there are already people elected at local level to represent the community and be their advocates over a
range of services and that they are councillors and the authors say, “If the government can trust councils with directly elected mayors to hold the police to
account then you should be able to trust other local authorities to do the same.”