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Police and Crime Commissioners are 'bleeding hopeless' with 'lousy judgement' says report

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Police and Crime Commissioners are 'bleeding hopeless' with 'lousy judgement' says report compiled by top-ranked officers - and fellow PCCs

  • Damning report says PCCs are often 'hopeless' or show 'lousy judgement'
  • Elected PCCs were introduced by then-Home Secretary Theresa May in 2012
  • Report asked senior police officers and other PCCs for their views on the posts 

By Georgia Edkins For The Daily Mail

Published: 21:40 EDT, 13 September 2018 | Updated: 21:48 EDT, 13 September 2018

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Elected police and crime commissioners have been branded 'bleeding hopeless' and 'not that bright' by former police officials.

In a damning report signalling crisis at the head of the police service, retired chief constables have accused PCCs of being politically driven, abusive and ruthless.

Senior officers said they were being put off from applying for chief constable positions as they feared being 'thrown under the bus for political expediency' by their elected bosses, the Times reported.

The elected positions of police and crime commissioners were introduced by Theresa May, the then-Home Secretary, in 2012 to act as heads of the 43 police forces up and down the country.

Sara Thornton, chairman of the NPCC, said the report served as a 'warning' that the growing rift needed to be addressed
Sara Thornton, chairman of the NPCC, said the report served as a 'warning' that the growing rift needed to be addressed

Sara Thornton, chairman of the NPCC, said the report served as a 'warning' that the growing rift needed to be addressed

The move aimed to make senior officials more accountable to the public when carrying out their duties - which include hiring and firing chief constables, setting police priorities and controlling budgets for forces in England and Wales.

But from their inception PCCs have been viewed with caution by police officers, not least because most PCCs tend not to have police experience.

Those wishing to stand for election as a PCC must not be a police officer or employed, either directly or indirectly, by the police.

Last night a report from the National Police Chiefs Council revealed that tensions continue to rise between officers and their elected bosses.

Retired officers labelled some PCCs 'difficult, unhelpful and unprofessional'.

One said: 'Why would any sane person place their operational independence and financial security at the whim of a politician? I have worked too long to place my personal reputation on the line, to place it at risk of being thrown under the bus for political expediency.'

The findings set out a number of additional factors contributing to their increasingly fraught relationship including the district bosses' ability to 'seemingly arbitrarily' sack police chiefs.

As a result, the number of applications for chief constable positions has sharply declined and is now at its lowest level on record.

More than half of chief constables appointed in 2015 were the only candidate standing for the job.

Those who do take up the position are unlikely to stay long, with an average tenure of under four years, the Times reported.

Last night, chairman of the NPCC, Sara Thornton said the report served as a 'warning' that the growing rift needed to be addressed.

PCCs were also astonishingly honest in the report, with one PCC slamming a colleague for being 'eccentric' and having 'lousy judgement'.

'There are six or seven really good PCCs...and about 22 who are absolutely bleeding hopeless,' the report said (file photo)
'There are six or seven really good PCCs...and about 22 who are absolutely bleeding hopeless,' the report said (file photo)

'There are six or seven really good PCCs...and about 22 who are absolutely bleeding hopeless,' the report said (file photo)

A comment made in 2015 by an anonymous PCC, and included in the report, read: 'You must not assume that being eccentric and having lousy judgement are prerequisites for the job, even though some of my PCC colleagues exhibit these characteristics in spades.

'There are six or seven really good PCCs... and about 22 who are absolutely bleeding hopeless.' 

The report's findings will be discussed next month by chief constables, PCCs and the College of Policing.

PCCs have also been widely criticised by the public for some of their more left-field suggestions to reduce crime.

After just 11 months in his position, Ron Hogg, the first police and crime commissioner in charge of Durham Constabulary, said the state should provide heroin for free and 'consumption rooms' where addicts can inject without fear of arrest or prosecution.

Earlier this year, Arfon Jones, the North Wales police and crime commissioner called for off-licences to be able to sell cannabis - claiming alcohol causes 'a lot more harm' than the class B drug.

Referencing the report, the chairman of the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners, Mark Burns-Williamson, told the Times that he did not agree with negative descriptions of the commissioners. 

 

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By Shawn Arnette 13/09/2018 21:48:00