It's over 9 months since this blog first expressed concerns about the presumption of existing representative bodies in their attempts to annexe PCCs. Back then it was the Local Government Association presuming that PCCs would be their's, and going on to establish the Police and Crime Commissioners Association (PCCA) as the national representative body for PCCs, without any PCCs being around to suggest support or otherwise.
Later came the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCCs), a bid for eternal life from the Association of Police Authorities. They were commissioned from the Home Office, from the top down, with public funding for an interim period and places on national negotiating bodies, which all helped to get the LGA past their presumption and to reach some agreement with APCCs, and we haven't heard anything of PCCA in a while.
So is that it then? Do PCCs just get what they are given, a London-based reincarnation of various interests that had done all they could to stop PCCs from ever existing in the first place? Something PCCs get to acquiesce in while busy trying to sort out budgets and Police and Crime Plans, agreed while it's free, but to be followed by a subscription?
I think not.
The Police and Crime Commissioners are too important a reform, and too great an opportunity, to simply waste on the usual way of doing things. In my view they need a choice, and so today if you make your way to the new CoPaCC website you'll see my name among the team behind the new Confederation of Police and Crime Commissioners, with former Independent candidate and PR professional Gill Radcliffe as another team member and more to be revealed through the week. This reflects my support for doing things a different way, with an organisation that works:-
- Individually, starting with the PCCs and working up from there.
- Locally, with no need to fund a London-based HQ and able to use our networked economy to draw on talent from around the country.
- Positively, with a real desire for PCCs to succeed – the sort that has informed this website.
- Flexibly, with no standing army of employees looking for things to do. Therefore able to keep costs down and provide the amount of support that is needed.
- Ethically, because PCCs have the public's trust.
Each PCC has more voters behind them and a more-focussed mandate than their local MPs. They also have more executive power to deliver locally. They are important local figures but there is also a national dimension to their role. They will need to colloborate together, to learn from each other, and to team up to get things done at a national level that will allow them to be more effective at a local level. If they have a real choice and, yes, a little competition, perhaps they will be in the best position to do that effectively.