Powers of new police commissioners should include authority to hire and fire prison governors, says report


The powers of the new Police and Crime Commissioners should be beefed up to include the authority to hire and fire prison governors and probation chiefs, ministers are advised in a report today.

An influential think-tank argued that the 41 Commissioners in England and Wales, who were elected last November, are currently operating “with one arm tied behind their backs” as they have no influence over other parts of the criminal justice system.

Policy Exchange calls for ten “super” PCCs, including London’s Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, to be given a dramatic extension of their authority as a “once-in-a- generation opportunity” to make the system more democratically accountable. They would exercise their extra powers on a trial basis, with a view to giving all PCCs the additional powers.

Under its plans, Commissioners would gain the power to appoint and dismiss local prison governors and probation chiefs, as well as courts and tribunals area managers. They would gain responsibility for youth justice budgets and the ability to raise more money to fight crime locally.

Max Chambers, the report’s author, said: “PCCs are operating with one arm tied behind their back. They must be able to hold local criminal justice agencies to account. That includes the ability to appoint the right people as well as set the local strategy and hold criminal justice leaders to account for performance.”