PLANS for an elected police commissioner could put politics before the public, according to the chairman of Surrey Police Federation.
Elections for the position â€“ expected to attract a salary of around Â£70,000 â€“ are due later this year and the commissioner’s powers will include appointing the Chief Constable and setting the county’s crime-fighting strategy.â€‹
Kieran Diamond, chairman of the Surrey Police Federation and a former detective inspector
Surrey Police Federation represents officers and chairman Kieran Diamond, a former Detective Inspector, is worried about the plan.
He said: “We need someone who is not politically aligned, but whether we get that is another thing altogether.
“The candidate should be independent, impartial and able to focus on the needs of people in Surrey.”
Mr Diamond also criticised the speed with which the Government plans to bring in the elected “police and crime commissioners”.
Former Mole Valley Inspector Mike Ledwidge says the move could lead to “politicisation” of the force.
He said: “I am genuinely concerned about this new role. Over the past 20 years, the Government has used the public services as a way of trying to win votes and this is a further step down the same route.
“The police authority (which will be replaced by commissioners) was weak before but it’s a worse scenario when you have someone who might be politically motivated managing the police force.
“We need genuinely altruistic, non-political people doing the job, but the sad thing is that the vote-winning machinery for political parties will make it very tricky for independents.
“We should go back to the old system where chief constables can do what they know to be right. Unless they make a stipulation that only candidates who fully understand the police structure can apply, then damage will be done.
He added: “We are losing our once iconic public services, and having an elected police commissioners is not going to help matters.”
Elected police commissioner for Surrey could put politics first, says federation