England & Wales Democracy, devolution and governance

What is a Police and Crime Commissioner?

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A Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) is an elected politician whose job it is to manage an “effective and efficient” police force for their area. They have existed since 2012 and have three core roles:

  1. Setting police budgets.
  2. Scrutinising the performance of their police force.
  3. Commissioning criminal justice services.

They also appoint the chief officer in their area.

Nearly everywhere in England and Wales has police and crime commissioner elections this year – the only places without are those where the combined authority mayor has taken on police responsibilities.

The areas for PCCs are a little different to local authorities. For example, in the southwest, there is a single PCC for Devon and Cornwall, which covers a large number of different district and unitary councils as well as a county council.

The maps above are accurate at the time of writing (April 2024), but legislation is currently being passed to move responsibilities to the mayor in several locations. Because of an ongoing legal review, it is difficult to say where we can expect this to happen, but the proposals are for the transition to be made in South Yorkshire and the West Midlands.

In the case of Police and Crime Commissioner elections, one important aspect we are always interested in is turnout. Turnout across PCC elections is often low, even by the standards of local elections, and in places where there are PCC elections and no other elections, turnout is often very low indeed. This is important – public understanding and turnout are key to democratic elections, and disengagement from any level of representation needs to be recorded, understood, and ideally counteracted.

Looking to find out more about what Police and Crime Commissioners do? We recommend these sources for further reading:



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