Sussex PCC hits back over Labour cut plans

Katy Bourne, PCC for Sussex. Taken at County Hall, Lewes. 11/10/13 ENGSUS00120131210151955
Katy Bourne, PCC for Sussex. Taken at County Hall, Lewes. 11/10/13 ENGSUS00120131210151955

SUSSEX Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne has described plans by Labour to scrap the PCC role as ‘a kick in the teeth for democracy’.

The shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said Labour would get rid of the elected post if they were elected in 2015.

This follows a report by the Independent Police Commission, which described the PCC model as ‘systematically flawed’.

Labour’s proposal was criticised by Mrs Bourne, who is a Conservative.

She said on Monday: “Today’s proposal to scrap PCCs and return to unelected, invisible police authorities is vague at best and threatens a backward step in accountability, and a kick in the teeth for democracy for the thousands of Sussex people who voted in the PCC elections.”

She warned that in Sussex, the proposal could lead to three local policing boards and more ‘expensive bureaucracy’.

“It would provide the people who would be determining police priorities an opportunity in which to hide from public scrutiny and be less accountable. This is totally unacceptable,” she said.

The PCC position was introduced by home secretary Theresa May in 2012, to make police forces more accountable to the general public.

Mrs Bourne added she took on the PCC role at a ‘very difficult time for policing’ and had worked with the chief constable to maintain service levels to the public through better use of existing resources.

“I believe the challenges for modern policing cannot be 
met by a one-size-fits-all, centrally -determined straightjacket policy.

“They require an understanding of local need that is determined by local people via their elected representative with the ability to get things done. This is why PCCs must stay.”