Police and crime commissioners will take the “voice of the people” to forces across the country, Home Secretary Theresa May said yesterday as she attempted to drum up turnout ahead of the first elections for the positions on Thursday.
The vote in England and Wales has faced heavy criticism for its timing in mid-November and a failure to excite public interest. Turnout is projected to be less than 15 per cent, leading to fears that those elected will have little authority. There have also been claims that the commissioners will clash with chief constables and undermine the independence of the police. Mrs May, pictured, insisted the commissioners would have "more of a democratic mandate than police authorities they are replacing".
Speaking on BBC1's Andrew Marr, she insisted: "The chief constables will retain their independence. They decide who they are going to arrest, who they are going to investigate.
"The police and crime commissioners set the strategic direction for the police. I don't think there will be a conflict. We have a police and crime commissioner in London. It is effectively the Mayor of London and his deputy who have been the police and crime commissioner," she added.