The JLC has been monitoring the developments around the upcoming elections of Police and Crime Commissioners (PCC) as part of our workstream addressing the impact of localism on our community.
On 15 November, for the first time ever, the public across England and Wales (except London) will elect a PCC. He or she will be accountable for how crime is tackled in their police force areas. The newly elected commissioner will take office a week after the vote, on November 22. This is at the heart of the Government's programme of decentralisation.
The only requirements the candidates must meet is that they are British, Commonwealth or EU citizens, aged 18 or over, and live in the police force area. They must also have the support of at least 100 people.
Anyone (who fulfils the above criteria) can become a PCC. It may well be someone who has gone through the police force and has a lot of experience, but it could just as easily be someone with little or no experience or understanding of policing at all. Most disturbingly, it could be a member of an extremist party or group.
There is a huge lack of awareness about the elections, which means that a low turnout is expected. Extremist candidates may be able to capitalise on public apathy and get in by the back door. The community must vote to ensure that these candidates do not come to power. CST engages with the Police throughout the country on behalf of the UK Jewish Community and will be monitoring this process closely.