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The role of the Police and Crime Commissioner

The role of a Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) is to be the voice of the people in policing, and to hold the Chief Constable to account for how he/she discharges their functions. The aim of all PCCs is to ensure the delivery of an effective and efficient police service within their force area.

PCCs are responsible for ‘the totality of policing’ (i.e. all of policing, not just some parts of it) but they ‘must not fetter the operational independence of the police force and the Chief Constable who leads it’.

By law (the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011), PCCs have to do certain things like:

  1. secure an efficient and effective police force for their area;
  2. appoint the Chief Constable, hold them to account for running the force, and if necessary dismiss them;
  3. set the police and crime objectives for their area through a police and crime plan;
  4. set the force budget and determine the precept (i.e. the levy on the council tax bill that will go toward policing);
  5. hold the Chief Constable to account for how the force contributes to the national and international policing capabilities set out by the Home Secretary; and
  6. bring together community safety and criminal justice partners (i.e. other organisations and agencies), to make sure local priorities are joined up.

Video produced by the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners to explain the role of the Police and Crime Commissioner


The difference between the Chief Constable and the Police and Crime Commissioner

The PCC and Devon and Cornwall Police are two separate entities. Although the PCCs must appoint and may, in extreme circumstances, dismiss the Chief Constable, the Commissioner is not the Chief Constable’s employer.

The Chief Constable and the PCC have lots of responsibilities and their roles are different. The table below does not list all of their individual duties, but does aim to show the main differences between the two roles:

Chief Constable Police and Crime Commissioner

Must deliver an effective police force and has direct control over the force, its officers and staff.

Makes sure that the views/needs of residents and businesses inform how our police service operates.

Leads and makes decisions on all aspects of operational policing.

Sets the police’s priorities and decides how much money the police force will be given each year to operate.
Is the most senior police officer in Devon and Cornwall Police Acts on behalf of the electorate to ensure that the Chief Constable is delivering effective policing by holding them to account.
Is responsible for the delivery of operational policing and overall performance of the police. Decides what the council tax contribution towards policing (the precept) is.

Politically independent.

Elected into office.

Accountable to the PCC.

Accountable to the public.