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PCC Elections 2016 - Published Newbury Weekly - Jan 2016
I was reminded recently that this May will see not just regional local elections, but also the elections for Police and Crime Commissioners.

The last round, in November 2012, saw an abysmal turn out of a fraction over 15% nationally, at an estimated cost of 75 million pounds.

In areas where there are no local elections this year, turnout is not likely to improve even with increased publicity nearer the polls. Many voters being handed a ballet paper will simply vote along party lines due to a lack of knowledge and awareness.

Perhaps the only redeeming feature of the election was the fact that almost a third of the successful candidates were Independents, ensuring that the election wasn’t a simple carve up between the two dominate parties in Westminster.

The Liberal Party continues to oppose  the elected police commissioners role and the associated election as simple politicisation, whilst adding another level of bureaucracy and the costs that go with it.  

The current role seems to have little practical purpose.  We might have a more positive view if the role looked at leadership and co-ordination of all emergency services fire police and ambulance. 
Although the PCC may have responsibility for managing budgets and police targets, they do not have any powers over operational or disciplinary issues, which remain beyond public scrutiny.

On this point alone, the concept of the PCC falls short of public expectations.

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