There’s no demand for an elected Police and Crime Commissioner.
Whatever criticisms people may have of the police, they haven’t tended to suggest that the solution is to create an elected police chief.
The only proponent of the idea is the government – specifically, the Conservative part of the government – which has decided to impose commissioners despite the lack of any obvious public appetite for them.
When it came to creating directly-elected mayors for cities, ministers chose to hold referendums. But for some reason, police commissioners will be imposed without consulting the public.
There are many reasons to be concerned about the introduction of Police and Crime Commissioners.
It’s hard to see how a single commissioner will be able to reflect the entire community, in all its variety, in the way that existing police authorities do.
There are arguments for having a single figure in charge of any organisation, but that role is already occupied by the Chief Constable.
He or she is in a position to make decisions quickly, when needed, and the buck stops with him or her when the force’s performance is judged.
The role of a police authority, or the new police commissioner, is very different. They scrutinise the force, holding it to account and providing praise and criticism where need be.