Local councillors will have a “big role” in providing the check and balance on directly elected police commissioners, the police reform minister has said.
Nick Herbert has pledged that locally elected politicians will continue to have a role in holding the police to account when “invisible” police authorities are replaced by a directly elected individual.
The Home Office is expected to publish details of the proposals later this month, but concerns that maverick individuals could be elected had led ministers to promise “checks and balances” in the system.
“I think there is a big role for local councillors in relation to these checks and balances,” he said.
Speaking at the launch of an RSA report which called for the public to be trained in how to tackle anti-social behaviour, Mr Herbert said the idea was “very much on the money” and matched the government’s drive to move away from “cash and centralism” to “government trusting professionals and citizens to deliver these outcomes”.
The police’s directly elected individual would focus on anti-social behaviour “because they know that is a huge priority for local people whose mandate they seek”, while local authorities would have “an important role in this approach” because of the need for effective local partnerships.
The elected individual “can ensure other efforts locally are coordinated and there is accountability for performance”, he explained.
The minister also set out plans to review the powers agencies have to tackle anti-social behaviour, promised a “toughening up” of licensing laws and said he wanted to examine the role of sometimes “bureaucratic” community safety partnerships.
“I want to look at the regard and effectiveness of community safety partnerships”, he said, because while they could sometimes be “powerful weapons” but could also be “bureaucratic where meetings are endlessly held and no responsibility is taken”.