Public urged to join police authorities shake-up debate

A refugee in South Sudan

A country ravaged by years of bitter civil war and conflict

RESIDENTS are being urged to have their say on plans to elect a police and crime commissioner for Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

The Public Bill Committee is asking people to submit views on the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill.

It includes plans to scrap police authorities - which hold the purse strings for police forces - from 2012 and replace them with a single police and crime commissioner for force areas.

Hampshire Police Authority chairwoman Jacqui Rayment - whose positions would be scrapped if plans go ahead - fears the 'politicalisation of police services'. She is also concerned about the cost of an election - which could amount to 2m - as police battle budget cuts of at least 20 per cent by 2015.

Cllr Rayment said: 'The results of our own survey on the proposals, carried out in August and September 2010, were included in our response to government.

'The survey indicated that only five per cent of the public support the election of a police and crime commissioner to represent them and to have sole responsibility of the policing budget in the region of 300 million.

'Personally, I wonder if now is the right time to be introducing additional and costly elections. I am concerned about the danger of the politicalisation of the police services. I also need to be reassured that a single Commissioner can represent the needs of approximately 1.9m people.' Visit scrutiny@parliament.uk to leave a comment.