Tom Winsor has blasted the suggestion by the Lord Stevens Commission that police and crime commissioners should be abolished and replaced with a new governance regime for policing.
Former Met commissioner Lord Stevens’ (pictured) independent review, which was initiated and backed by the Labour Party, recommended abolishing PCCs and replacing them with a raft of alternatives, saying having a directly-elected individual overseeing each force area was a “failed” experiment.
The Commission comprised a range of analysts and took evidence from many people in policing and criminal justice agencies, including Mr Winsor.
But HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary said it was too early to judge the effectiveness of PCCs in his annual review of policing, published this week.
In an interview with PoliceOracle.com, Mr Winsor added that Lord Stevens view was “wrong”.
“A democratic institution has been established,” he said. “People need time to dissect it and decide whether the institution is fit for purpose.
“Lord Stevens’ idea would throw the democratisation of police accountability into reverse.”
In his report, Mr Winsor wrote: “The relationship between police and crime commissioners and chief constables is still in its infancy. It cannot fairly be assessed by Parliament and the electorate without more experience of it.
“A significant number of these relationships are already demonstrating substantial and welcome improvements over the police authority model, with greater focus on the needs of the community and far less bureaucracy and its attendant uncertainties and delays.”
In his review published in November 2013, Lord Stevens called PCCs a “failed experiment in democratic policing”.
He said the alternatives could include giving lower tier councils a say in setting policing priorities in their areas and appointing local commanders. It also suggested creating directly-elected local policing boards.
Lord Stevens wrote: “The principle of democratic accountability that underpins the PCC experiment is sound and needs protecting – evening extending.
“But serious thought needs to be given to finding better ways of giving practical effect to that principle.”
As previously reported, the Labour Party is consulting on the Commission’s recommendations and which it should include in its manifesto for the 2015 general election.
From Police Oracle