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Police and Crime Commissioners: a corrosive exercise of power which destabilises police accountability?

Cooper, Simon J (2020) 'Police and Crime Commissioners: a corrosive exercise of power which destabilises police accountability?' Criminal Law Review, 2020 (4). 291 - 305. ISSN 0011-135X

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Abstract

This article explores data obtained through interviews with senior stakeholders in policing at a regional and national level, and relevant persons in Government. It focuses on a striking feature of the present structure of police accountability, namely that Police and Crime Commissioners [PCCs] are solely responsible for holding Chief Constables to account while also having the exclusive power to remove them from office. Removing a Chief Constable involves a PCC activating a hard mechanism of accountability and exercising a broad discretion as the PCC alone decides when to remove a Chief Constable. Referring to a number of recent reports and reviews, the discussion examines why this power is controversial. The interviews show the PCC’s power to remove Chief Constables to be contentious. They also reveal two new, unforeseen and possibly corrosive impacts on police accountability. First, a probable instability in police leadership. Second, a possibility that Chief Constables could be abstaining from questioning and challenging PCCs and risk becoming beholden to their PCC. As well as posing prominent questions about the governance of policing through PCCs, these potential effects also suggest that the PCC’s power to remove Chief Constables might unintentionally empower PCCs and displace Chief Constables.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Accountability; Chief Constables; Police and Crime Panels
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities > Law, School of
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 17 Dec 2019 09:27
Last Modified: 07 Apr 2020 09:15
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/26239

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