Public turn against elected police commissioners

Police and politics don't mix well, accoring to the poll
Police and politics don't mix well, accoring to the poll

By staff

Just 15% trust elected police and crime commissioners more than the present system to protect their family, according to a poll.

The government is pushing to improve links between policing and the public by introducing the idea of a directly elected individual overseeing the police's work.

YouGov found that a chief constable reporting to a police authority, as is currently the case, was much more popular, with 65% of the public preferring it. The remaining fifth were unsure.

But ministers are set to press ahead later today as the police reform and social responsibility bill arrives in the Commons for its report statge.

"Britain has a policing model much admired around the world and the police's political independence is as important as that of the courts," civil liberties group Liberty's director of policy Isabella Sankey said.

"Directly elected police commissioners not only compromise autonomy but as our poll shows undermine trust in the community they serve."

Liberty, which commissioned the poll from YouGov, fears that elected commissioners could pressure police to use their powers in ways which meets a political agenda, rather than serving the community as a whole.

The government plans to hand commissioners the power to hire and fire the chief constable, secure the maintenance for the police force and control the police's budget and strategy.


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