Colonel Tim Collins, who hopes one day to be Kent’s Police and Crime Commissioner, is reported by the BBC to think he will do it on a part-time basis.
In comments that will generate shrieks of horror in Police Authorities around the country, the Iraq veteran said “”It would be a part-time role for me. I don’t see there’s full time work in it.”
This has already met with a firm response from Kent Police Federation, who point out that there are currently 16 members of the Kent Police Authority.
There has been controversy around whether 1 person can carry as part of their responsibility the sum of so many part-time and not-so-part-time efforts, but Colonel Collins has pushed this even further. He expressed confidence in the current Chief Constable and his team, which makes him feel less time will be required.
Policing Minister Nick Herbert has been drawn into the debate, pointing out that there is no legal requirement for a full-time post, but the advice that ministers have received on salaries is issued on the basis that the role is full-time. A number of candidates have indicated they won’t take a full salary, or that they will donate part of it to charity, but Colonel Collins is the first to question how much time the post will take up.
This highlights a key Question for Candidates:- If you are elected will you be doing the job full-time?
A number of potential candidates have leadership roles in local government, and generally these have promised to stand down from those positions if elected. Any sitting MP would be legally required to vacate their seat if they were elected as a Police and Crime Commissioner, but some have promised to stand down as soon as they get their party’s nomination for the post. Would people in business take the same view about their commitments?
Colonel Collins has other work commitments that he may still wish to pursue. Commissioners with no other work interests will face the risk of unemployment every four years and who can take those risks? Should the posts practically be limited to the retired or independently wealthy?
On the other hand, if the roles can be part-time, that might persuade more women to stand as candidates, and attract a wider range of experiences into the role than would otherwise be the case. Do we need more senior roles to be part-time to break the expectation that the best jobs only appear in 5-day-a-week chunks?
But it is a big job, and is only forecast to get bigger. Senior Home Office Civil Servant Stephen Rimmer is quoted as saying “we have only scratched the surface” for the potential for PCCs, implying there are more responsibilities to come.
What do you think? Can you realistically combine Police and Crime Commissioner with any other major responsibility?