Theresa May, the Home Secretary, has defended the role of police and crime commissioners and said that they are “here to stay”. Speaking to police leaders she praised the work of the elected commissioners and talked of “the dark days of police authorities”.
In her speech May said that:
“Just one in 15 people knew that police authorities even existed. Public meetings were barely attended, if at all, and decisions taken were communicated only in obscure minutes in forgotten corners of their websites”.
“We must not kid ourselves that PCCs are yet universally understood. Nor that their potential has been completely fulfilled. More than 5 million people voted last time, but that turnout was disappointing and needs to improve in May. And as I have said today, there are improvements that can and will be made to policing in England and Wales. But over the last three and half years, Police and Crime Commissioners have proved that they matter. They have hired and fired chief constables. They have set local priorities and they have overseen budgets of hundreds of millions of pounds. They have helped to ensure that crime continues to be cut and that people in this country continue to be kept safe. And they are here to stay”.