Police commissioner will be “big hitter”

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THE introduction of a police commissioner is the most significant change to policing for more than 50 years, according to a force’s new authority chairman.

Hartlepool Mayor Stuart Drummond, who recently became the chairman of Cleveland Police Authority, believes those elected to the role will hold a lot of power and will be a “big-hitter” politically.

Mr Drummond is set to open an event on Friday at the force’s headquarters where around 100 people from various organisations will hear about the position and how it will come start in November.

He said: “This is without doubt one of the most significant developments in British policing for over 50 years.

“The commissioner will be the person elected by residents right across the Cleveland area. This will be a big hitter in terms of political and actual power and influence.

“They will take on many of the responsibilities which up to now have been undertaken by police authorities, but will have a much wider remit in terms of crime and criminal justice generally.

“The commissioner will have very considerable powers in relationship to the police, but responsibility for operational day to day policing will remain firmly with the chief constable and the force.

“We hope that this event will help to raise awareness amongst the many different partners involved in reducing crime and improving community safety.”

The public will vote for the first commissioner on November 15.

Representatives of the authority and the force, the Home Office, local authorities and other criminal justice services will be among those explaining the role of the commissioner, the relationships with other bodies, how the elections will be organised, and the transition process.

Stuart Pudney, chief executive of the authority, said: “One of the key tasks now facing the authority is ensuring the smoothest possible transition and enabling whoever is elected as commissioner has the right support to take on the very considerable responsibilities involved in the job.”