HARTLEPOOL mayor Stuart Drummond has not ruled himself out of the running for the powerful post of Police and Crime Commissioner.
Mayor Drummond opened a conference yesterday on the new role in his position as chairman of Cleveland Police Authority (CPA).
The meeting heard that the winner of the election in November will become “a big political animal” with control over the force budget and the ability to sack and appoint chief constables.
Mr Drummond told 120 people from various agencies that the Government scheme has been “met with scepticism locally” and that he “hasn’t heard many people say it is a good idea”, but that the change is inevitable.
When asked by the Hartlepool Mail after the four-hour session whether he would run for the role of Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), he said: “I don’t know what I am going to do if I’m honest.
“It’s a massive decision and I haven’t had time to think about it.
“As far as the police authority is concerned, as chair I am committed to getting us through this transition.”
The CPA will be disbanded in 10 months time when the PCC takes office.
It will be replaced by a Police and Crime Panel (PCP) made up of councillors and residents that will scrutinise the decisions and actions of the PCC.
But the authority and accountability will rest solely on the PCC through the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011, which the Government says will take power away from Whitehall and into the hands of the public.
Chief executive of CPA, Stuart Pudney, said: “The elected person will be a big political animal. They will hold the electoral mandate for the whole of Cleveland, which is more than any of the MPs.
“They will hold a lot of political power.”
He said that there is a lot of pressure on the public to choose the right person, adding: “If we get someone who won’t take advice, it won’t work.
“We are told when that question is raised with the Home Office that the British electorate have a history of picking the right person.”
Temporary Chief Constable Jacqui Cheer warned that anyone thinking of running for the post must not think they can come in and make radical, overnight changes.
She said the force works within a tight budget with a lot of resources allocated to protect the public through schemes that are not high-profile but work.
Temp Chief Cons Cheer said: “I’m not seeking a cosy relationship but one that respects the responsibilities of the different roles of the force and delivers the best service to the public we can within the financial restraints on us.”
The details of the election and how candidates will be nominated is still being finalised and another meeting is expected to take place in the next few months.