One of Britain’s most prominent Chief Constables, Sir Norman Bettison, has warned that the new directly elected Police and Crime Commissioners could be vulnerable to ”corruption with a small ‘c”’.
Sir Norman Bettison Chief Constable for West Yorkshire
The West Yorkshire chief, who is a vice-president of the Association of Chief Police Officers, said he fears that those elected could feel obligated to people who helped them win power.
He said he also has concerns about new commissioners undermining operational independence.
In an interview with the Yorkshire Post, Sir Norman accepted that a lot of candidates will stand for election simply because they want to make the world a better place.
But he said: ”My fear is that (in other cases) it could be the door that unlocks corruption and anything that does has the potential to destroy public trust in policing.”
”There is potential for some corruption with a small ‘c’.
”What I mean is not the problem of huge frauds and secret banks accounts in Monaco.
”An election brings with it the sense of obligation to people who have helped win the election or might help with a future election, and this is someone who can be elected on a frequent and recurring basis.”
Sir Norman said he was particularly concerned about the influence commissioners may have on younger Chief Constables, earlier in their careers, than ”old and crippled Chief Constables like myself”.
Directly elected Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) are being brought in to replace police authorities in England and Wales.
They will have the power to hire and fire Chief Constables, and set the police force’s budget and ”strategic direction”.
The flagship Government initiative has received harsh criticism from Labour which claims they are unnecessary and costly.
Among those who have said they will stand for election is former deputy prime minister Lord Prescott.
He has confirmed he will seek Labour’s nomination for the post in Humberside.
Police commissioners ‘could lead to corruption’