‘Rethink elected police chiefs’

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A POLICE authority believes the Government must think again about its proposals to put control of policing in the hands of elected commissioners after their plans were rejected.

The House of Lords last night voted by 188 to 176 in favour of a Liberal Democrat amendment removing the clauses from the Police Reform Bill giving the go-ahead for elected commissioners and instead favouring the idea that commissioners should be chosen by a police and crime panel.

The vice chairman of Cleveland Police Authority, Peter Race, said it sent a “clear message” to Ministers that they must think again as neither the public or police want to see so much power given to one individual.

Mr Race said: “This is a clear vindication of the fears which we, and indeed virtually every part of the police service have expressed about the prospect of giving a single elected individual the power to set police priorities and budgets and to hire and fire chief constables.

“There is no evidence of real public support for the proposal, indeed a number of national opinion surveys have shown few people either support the idea or believe it would help to reduce crime.

“What is clear is the vast majority of the public do want to see all available resources, especially at a time of major financial cutbacks, concentrated on supporting front-line services rather than spending many millions on elections to create highly-paid administrators.”