Police and crime commissioners (PCCs) were established in 2011 by the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act. This was done in part to increase democratic accountability of English and Welsh police forces. PCCs replaced the previous system of police authorities, with a few exceptions, including in Scotland and Northern Ireland where policing is a devolved matter.
Police Authorities were created by the Police Act (1964), replacing a system of ‘Watch Committees’ which existed from the early 19th century. Police authorities were managed by a combination of ‘elected’ members selected from the local authorities, as well as ‘independent’ members who were appointed by the police authority. The 2011 Act replaced these roles with a directly elected Police and Crime Commissioner. In 2015, the TaxPayers’ Alliance found that Offices of the Police and Crime Commissioners (OPCCs) spent 14.7 per cent more on average in total remuneration than police authorities, but less overall.
PCCs are funded partly through the Home Office’s police grant – the aggregate of which was set at £8.7 billion for 2021-22 – and also through the police precept. This is an additional fund raised for policing through council tax. Commissioners are scrutinised by Police and Crime Panels (PCPs) which are made up of a minimum of 10 representatives from the local authorities in the police force’s area. The PCP has the ability to confirm or reject the suggested precept rise, which is requested by the PCC annually. In order to confirm the precept rise, the panel must agree by a majority of two thirds, a threshold which is almost always met in practice.
This paper reviews the cost of OPCCs over the year 2020-21, including remuneration for PCCs and their deputies, and details precept increases across these authorities. A sample of staffing numbers is also considered.
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