Police commissioner will be elected this November

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FOR the first time ever Sussex residents will be voting for their policing representative later this year.

The November 15 elections follow the Government’s decision to see police authorities throughout the country replaced with directly elected police and crime commissioners (PCCs).

This will mean a significant shift in power from the 17 members of the current police authority here to one person who will represent the whole of Sussex.

The Sussex Police Authority claims the introduction is ‘to improve the democratic accountability of the police service to the public by enabling local people to vote for a PCC’.

And already candidates from across the county have thrown their hat into the ring to contend for the position - which has the sole responsibility to hire the chief constable for Sussex.

Ian Chisnall, an Independent community activist from Brighton, put himself forward this week.

“It is clear that this role will demand someone who understands the work of local authorities, the police and other statutory agencies,” he said.

Responsibilities of the new commissioner include the setting of the council tax precept and annual budget; attendance at the police and crime and panel and; taking into account national policing requirements such as counter terrorism. A statement on the Home Office website reads: “PCCs will aim to cut crime and deliver an effective and efficient police service within their force area.

“PCCs will not be expected to run the police. The role of the PCC is to be the voice of the people and hold the police to account.”

Mr Chisnall is among a number of candidates who will appear in public in the coming months in a bid to secure the currently negotiated £85,000-a-year role.Some PPCs could receive a salary of more than £100,000.

Party members are putting together a list of prospective candidates which will be relayed to the county council between now and eight weeks before the election.

Anyone can stand for election to this post, but must meet the criteria outlined below by the Home Office.

However, candidates may be required to issue a £5,000 deposit to their local authority, said a Home Office spokesman. This is currently under negotiation and could come into force in May.

The Government’s decision to implement PPCs was part of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act passed in September 2011 and championed by Sussex MP for Arundel and South Downs, Nick Herbert – the minister of state for policing and criminal justice.

For more information on PCCs and standing for election visit www.sussexpcc.co.uk/index.aspx or www.homeoffice.gov.uk/police/police-crime-commissioners/