Plans to cut commissioner are a lot of old hogwash, says PCC

Tim Passmore

Tim Passmore - Credit: Archant

Suffolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner has defended the role in the face of opposition from the Labour Party.

Tim Passmore made the defence in response to comments from the shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper, who pledged last year to scrap police and crime commissioners if Labour was returned to power following May’s General Election.

Mr Passmore, speaking at Framlingham Town Council’s meeting on Thursday, said the comments were “a lot of old hogwash”.

“I think it’s really sad that the Labour Party has said this because there are some really effective Labour commissioners,” he said.

“I cannot believe that any sensible politician would choose to get rid of this system and then not know what they are replacing it with.”

The posts were introduced by Home Secretary Theresa May in 2012 as an attempt to make policing more accountable and give the public a say in how their local force was run.

Ms Cooper said that by abolishing the commissioners, the party would save £50million, which could be put back into frontline policing.

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Speaking to a national newspaper last year, she said: “This was Theresa May’s flagship reform and it just hasn’t worked. The model is just fundamentally flawed. They spent £80m on the original elections. It will cost £50m to hold the next elections.

“To spend all that money on something where so few people vote, when you could put that money back into policing is wrong.”

Mr Passmore disputed the cost-saving claims and insisted that the commissioners are more financially efficient than the Police Authorities they replaced.

“It’s cheaper and when the system settles down it will become better,” he said.

The commissioners have come in for criticism after a number of high-profile scandals such as Shaun Wright, South Yorkshire’s PCC, who resigned after facing mounting pressure following the Rotherham child abuse scandal.

Mr Passmore conceded there had been some controversial commissioners but suggested there would be fewer scandals once the public better understood the role and who they were voting for in future elections.

Mr Passmore’s comments were made following a questions from town councillor Kevin Coe, who had asked what Mr Passmore thought of Labour’s policy.