Police Commissioners Must Be High Calibre, Ministers Are Warned By Institute For Government

Political Parties Rubbish At Finding Good Police Commissioner Candidates, Says IfG

Political parties need to act urgently to ensure high-calibre candidates stand for election as police and crime commissioners, a report has said.

The study by the Institute for Government said the success of the crime chiefs will "depend heavily" on the right applicants, including independents, standing for election.

But with just a year until the elections, it found the three major parties had taken "few concrete steps" to select candidates in the 41 police force areas.

The report comes as the Policing Minister Nick Herbert said the commissioners will now be responsible for helping the victims of crime overcome their ordeal.

The study also warns that only 27% of adults know about the new crime bosses. If few people are aware of the elections, a low turn-out at the polls could allow extremist parties in through the back door.

It added: "While all parties agree that they would be happy for strong independent candidates to come forward, it also appears that few concrete steps have been taken to ensure that independents will stand.

"This is worrying, not least because high-calibre candidates are urgently needed to motivate voters to turn out at the ballot box."

The think-tank says that to solve the problem, David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband need to issue an open call for applications, while an organisation like the Local Government Association should be in charge of searching for suitable candidates.

Describing the posts as "inherently political", it said parties could also use measures such as all-women shortlists to ensure there was a wide-range of candidates standing for election.

The proposed changes would cost £4 million but this could be paid for by cutting the salary of the new police chiefs from upwards of £120,000 in some areas to between £65,000 and £100,000.


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