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Police & Crime Commissioners

Lessons for the second generation

In 2012, voters across England and Wales elected their first ever Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs). The 41 PCCs returned in those elections have spent three and a half years leading and holding the police to account, whilst figuring out from scratch how to operate and exercise their authority. This May, the next wave of elections will return the second generation of PCCs.

Reflections from an inaugural term

We interviewed a number of PCCs to learn how their experiences compared over their first term. Many told us that establishing their authority was a sharp initial challenge in the face of limited public interest and – in some cases – scepticism among their force’s senior team. Since then, many have led the way in opening up policing debates locally. And most discovered that local knowledge and insight were among their most powerful commodities.

This report aims to reflect on the challenges faced by the first generation of PCCs and offer lessons for the second, whether new or returning.

Nine lessons for the second generation

Experiences of the first term PCCs point to nine lessons for the second generation:

  1. Get set for an engagement sprint
  2. Recognise your mandate
  3. Prepare for the evolution
  4. Make the case for digital
  5. Think wider than policing
  6. Become the master of your data
  7. Focus on implementation – especially with partners
  8. Forces should plan and manage political transition 
  9. Local and national politicians should support their local Police and Crime Commissioner.
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