The PCC as the community’s representative has the task of listening for what people want their Police Force to do and what they should not do. These can often be expressed as about the small things that cumulatively affect the community sense of safety.
Some core business, that is high priority and strategically important for outcomes, is however beyond question needed as part of the necessary competencies, and they, by their very nature, require immediate and expert responses. Examples are:
- Managing complex and protracted criminal enquiries, including those that cross Force boundaries. (A very topical and contentious national debate today exists with regard to some high profile national cases about the cost measured against achievement.)
- Controlling public disorder, effectively and even-handedly.
- Controlling the scene of major disasters, including co-ordinating the work of colleagues emergency services in often extremely difficult and public conditions. (Consider the recent aircraft crash on the A27.)
There are common qualities and behaviours that are required to deliver effective policing and leadership of that delivery by both Police Leaders and Leaders of Policing.
My list, including a priority for implementing them, would include:
- Excellent communication by leaders of the task and priorities for action.
- Visible leadership for the community and, no less, amongst the policing team.
- Evident integrity and fairness in all that is done in the name of the police and its partners.
- Professional skills and experience in their deployment.
- A culture of learning, growing and changing to meet the requirements as they are, not how they were.
These are some fundamental elements of achieving first class outcomes and the ability to sustain them deserve to be part of testing the appropriateness of proposed change and draft policing plans as they are considered for approval.
As a PCC, these would be principles that I held to firmly.