Post of police and crime commissioner is a drain on resources

Date: Tuesday 28th August 2018

Sir, Mr McVicar (Herald, 18th August) seems to state that the appointment of a deputy chief constable is not necessary and that it is “a politician” who is being appointed.

The holder of this post is above all else “a person locally appointed but having authority under the crown” (part of the definition of every regular police officer). He or she will not be a politician.

It is, however, essential that whoever is appointed has experience of the wider field of policing, particularly as the current chief constable has served only in this county. The salary being mentioned is the lowest point in nationally approved salaries for a person holding this office.

Mr McVicar also queries the appointment of the police and crime commissioner. I am inclined to agree with him on this score.

The independence of the office has been hijacked and this has truly been a political appointment to an office which, in my opinion, is a drain on finances and really was unnecessary.

The police committee of the local authority had worked very well for a very long time and it and the now independent police complaints body would have continued to serve the needs of the community and assured the independence of police supervision.

I served for 30 years in two police forces (not Cumbria), and though now being retired for a considerable period am still concerned at the lack of police presence in this area.

There have been serious cuts in manpower as a direct result of government decisions, the effect of which is being seen both in the police and the prison service.

We live in a relatively quiet county but it is increasingly noticeable that the lack of police “on the streets” is having a detrimental effect of the sense of public tranquillity which was one of the primary objects of the police when set up in London in 1829.

Some time ago an increase of police numbers of 25 officers was announced; that figure will do little to address public concern.

From my previous experience as a senior officer I know that to get one officer “on the streets” for 24 hours involves needing something like five officers in total.

The 25 officers will therefore provide in real terms five additional officers and that spread over the police area of Cumbria is a very small result.

The fact is that without public co-operation in policing there will be no noticeable effect in reducing the concern about lack of law and order. Yours etc,

JOHN H. G. PEACOCK

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