Who is your Police and Crime Commissioner?
Marc Jones is the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Lincolnshire and was elected to the post in 2016.
What does your PCC do and what are his responsibilities?
Mr Jones sets the policing budget for Lincolnshire and spends the money to fulfil promises made during his election campaign. Often the Government grants separate pots of money to the PCC to devote to certain aspects of policing such as victim support.
The PCC is a civilian role and Mr Jones was elected by the people of Lincolnshire and is therefore directly accountable to them via the ballot box.
Mr Jones is also responsible for appointing the Chief Constable who runs Lincolnshire Police. The Chief Constable for Lincolnshire is Bill Skelly and his boss is the PCC.
The PCC must be available so that members of the public with issues or concerns about policing can get help or reassurance. This element of the post is conducted by the PCC’s office but where relevant, direct referrals are made to Mr Jones.
Mr Jones attends many events including the Lincolnshire Show as well as public meetings such as those organised by parish councils regarding local policing.
Because of this information gathering, a PCC can lobby the Government to create or alter laws. Often the PCCs from different counties will unite to increase the effectiveness of this. An example of this was with Mr Jones’s involvement in the campaign to make up-skirting a criminal offence in 2019.
Why was the role created?
The position of PCC was created in 2012 to replace the Police Authority. Each county had its own Police Authority which consisted of nine elected Councillors chosen by the leaders of the local councils. The leaders are councillors who head the largest political group of a council. For Lincolnshire the councils were the City of Lincoln, North Kesteven, South Kesteven, South Holland, Boston, East Lindsey, West Lindsey and Lincolnshire County Council.
These nine councillors would then appoint a further eight members from the community to the Police Authority.
There were concerns that the Police Authorities had become akin to private political clubs with limited accountability to the public. To address this issue, PCCs are directly elected with a term of office of four years. Due to the Coronavirus lock-down however the 2020 elections have been postponed for a year creating a one-off situation of a five-year term.
What problems face the Lincolnshire PCC?
Turnout during the 2016 PCC elections in Lincolnshire was low at 20.7%. For a role which was designed to be more democratic than the old the system, this has worried Mr Jones. He believes this apathy at the ballot box is likely to be because many people do not understand the role, and maybe as a result, some conclude that it is a waste of money.
But Mr Jones says that the office of the Lincolnshire PCC costs £170,000 per year less to run than the Police Authority, and he is keen to ensure people know what his role entails. Having attended well over 200 public meetings last year, he is looking for new ways to communicate with the people of Lincolnshire, in the hope they will engage more with the elections as well as his office to share concerns and information.
Mr Jones describes his role and how it benefits the people of Lincolnshire.