Voters go to the polls on Thursday, May 6, where they will decide who becomes their Senedd Members as well as their local Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC).
As the Gwent force area gears up to elect its new PCC, we take a closer look at their duties and responsibilities in order to highlight exactly what you will be voting for.
What exactly does the role of the PCC entail and why should I vote? In a nutshell, a commissioner is elected every four years to hold the police to account for delivering the kind of policing you want to see locally. This election was supposed to be held last year but was delayed because of the pandemic.
First elected in England and Wales in 2012, PCCs are responsible for ensuring the policing needs of the public are met as effectively and efficiently as possible and to oversee how crime is tackled by the police.
This is done by:
• Holding the Chief Constable to account for the delivery of local policing and making police forces answerable to the communities they serve;
• Setting the police and crime priorities for their area by developing a police and crime plan;
• Regularly engaging with the public and communities.
The Commissioner has a number of specific duties and responsibilities, including:
• Working with partners from the sphere of community safety, crime, drugs, health or criminal justice locally to prevent and tackle crime and re-offending;
• Setting the Police Force budget;
• Setting the annual precept (the proportion of the cost of policing paid from your council tax);
• Appointing, and where necessary, dismissing the Chief Constable;
• Contributing to the national and international policing capabilities set out by the Home Secretary;
• Engaging with victims of crime and providing services to help and support victims;
• Commissioning services and awarding grants to organisations or bodies to assist them in delivering the priorities in their police and crime plan;
• Managing the police estate (police stations, land and assets).
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PCCs track the performance of the Police Force against their police and crime priorities and report annually on what they have achieved to the local Police and Crime Panel.
The panel is responsible for challenging and scrutinising the impact of the commissioner and what they do and also to support them to exercise their functions effectively.
PCCs are required to swear an oath when they are elected to office which is designed so that they can set out publicly their commitment to tackling their new role with integrity.
It reflects the commitment police officers make to serve every member of the public.
Gwent has had two PCCs since 2012. Ian Johnston, a former head of Gwent CID, won in 2012 but did not seek re-election in 2016. That election saw former Labour Assembly Member Jeff Cuthbert emerge as the winning candidate.
Mr Cuthbert is standing again alongside five other candidates. These are: Donna Cushing (Plaid Cymru), Hannah Jarvis (Conservative), Clayton Jones (Gwlad – The Welsh Independence Party), Paul Harley (Independent) and John Miller (Liberal Democrats).
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