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Commissioner welcomes ‘sensible suggestions’ from progress report

Cambridgeshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner has welcomed a Home Affairs Select Committee report on police and crime commissioners’ progress to date, saying it makes some ‘sensible suggestions’.

The report makes several points and recommendations, including:

  • It is too early to assess the success of police and crime commissioners as they are still ‘on probation’
  • New commissioners should have a transition of one month for ‘training’
  • Commissioners should be allowed to name their intended deputies during their election campaigns
  • Strengthening laws and safeguards around suspension/ removal of chief constables

Sir Graham Bright said: ““The report makes some sensible recommendations and I am pleased that some of the points I raised during giving evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee have been taken up by them. I agree that it is too early to judge – it’s a completely new model that cannot be compared to what was before. I believe the public will judge us through the ballot box at the end of our term on what we have delivered. That’s what democracy is all about.”

The report also questions the setting of targets by commissioners. Sir Graham said:

“I have always said that I have gone to great lengths not to set targets. The pledges in my Police and Crime Plan, which the law requires me to produce, are based on what the public have flagged up to me and what they would like to see from the police. I have never been one for targets. The overall goal is to reduce crime and improve public confidence. My approach is clearly one the Committee identifies with.

“I also agree that a week is not long enough between out-going and incoming commissioners. This is a big role that I think many have underestimated and it requires a longer handover period than was provided for last time around.

“Likewise I am pleased that the report acknowledges the challenges commissioners have had around public awareness of the role at the time of the elections. I spent all of my time not asking people to vote for me, but telling people what the job was all about. The benefit of this was that my policies are actually the public’s policies – I did a lot of listening. I think we will see that public awareness has improved by the time the next election comes around, since the public profile of police and crime commissioners has increased, sometimes for the wrong reasons of course, but the news coverage has helped increase awareness.”